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Wizard World Inks Chinese Streaming Partnership

11 Sep, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Wizard World, producer of live-event pop culture expositions similar to Comic-Con International San Diego, Sept. 11 announced a deal to stream content in China. Programming of any kind can only be distributed under a license issued by the Chinese government.

The agreement with CNLive, reportedly one of seven entities licensed to distribute content over the Internet in China, provides Wizard World China, a wholly owned subsidiary of Wizard World, a multiyear right and license to program an ad-supported channel across all of mainland China, including Macao and Hong Kong.

The channel will be the first English-language streaming channel in China and could attract up to six million viewers daily, according to Wizard World.

“The transaction is another step forward in the evolution of Wizard World from a producer of premier pop culture events into a full-bodied integrated global media company,” Paul Kessler, executive chairman of Wizard World, said in a statement. 

Wizard claims its channel will be distributed to about 100 million viewers across China. The non-subscription link will exist in a market with an estimated 680 million Internet users, 620 million of whom are mobile Internet users. An estimated 390 million Chinese nationals speak English. Much of the video content consumed in China is viewed on mobile devices.

“This partnership is a landmark achievement for Wizard World as we extend our brand into content production and distribution both domestically and across international borders,” said CEO John Maatta.

He said the Chinese OTT venture is in addition to the launch of “WizPop,” a daily pop culture news service, the reboot of Wizard Magazine, and a live event pop culture exposition business, which will produce 22 shows in North America this year.

The company a year ago, together with Cinedigm, bowed CONtv, a $6.99 SVOD service.

“We are striving to serve our fan base at live events and across numerous media platforms,” Maatta said.

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