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Fox Licenses Catalog Content to Chinese VOD Service

2 Feb, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Despite major studio license deals, You On Demand generated less than $650,000 in revenue in the third quarter

Chinese digital movie service You On Demand Feb. 2 announced it signed a license agreement with 20th Century Fox Television Distribution for the streaming rights in China to a broad selection of catalog movies.

Content will be available to subscribers of You On Demand's subscription streaming platform via mobile, digital cable and IPTV.

Movies include The A-Team starring Bradley Cooper and Liam Neeson; Black Swan starring Academy Award winner Natalie Portman; 10-time Academy Award nominated film Master and Commander, starring Russell Crowe; Speed, starring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves; and Unstoppable, starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pine, among others.

"We are very pleased that this agreement with You On Demand will see many of our high-quality feature films become accessible to viewers in China," Gina Brogi, EVP of worldwide pay-TV & SVOD at 20th Century Fox Television Distribution, said in a statement.

You On Demand, with headquarters in New York and Beijing, has over the years secured high-profile content license agreements with Disney Media Distribution, Paramount Pictures, NBC Universal, Warner Bros., Miramax, Lionsgate and Magnolia, as well as a broad selection of content from Chinese filmmakers.

Yet despite the license agreements, You On Demand struggles to gain traction in the crowded China market. Through Sept. 30, 2014, the service had generated less than $650,000 in quarterly revenue, $965,000 for the year.

China remains a burgeoning movie-watching market, with theatrical sales expected to become the largest in the world in a couple of years. Social media sites such as Youku and Tudou have hundreds of millions of unique monthly users, but online digital distribution remains a challenge.

To help secure better connections in China, You On Demand recently appointed Weicheng Liu as CEO, replacing Shane McMahon, who remains chairman of the board. Marc Urbach is president and CFO of the company.

"We are excited to be working with them in China as we bring their diverse library to all You On Demand platforms,” McMahon said in a statement.

A sentiment apparently shared by investors as You On Demand shares jumped more than 40% in heavy early morning trading.

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