China Video Site Signs Deal to Legally Show Hollywood Films

In a move that will legally bring more American TV shows and films to the Internet in China, Ku6 Media, an operator of one of the country's largest video hosting sites, has signed content deals with Sony Pictures Television and a major Hollywood studio.

Ku6 announced the deal in a statement on Thursday, claiming that the agreements would make Ku6 "the first Chinese local video portal to acquire legitimate copyright content from major Hollywood studios." The deal would give Ku6 the broadcasting rights for several hundred Hollywood films and TV episodes.

The company operates Ku6.com, China's fourth-largest video-sharing site with 10 percent market share, according to Beijing-based research firm Analysys International. Video sites in China like Ku6.com and its larger rival Youku host pirated American movies and shows uploaded by users, even as the companies have worked to take such content down. But now the sites are seeking to license more copyright content in order to lure more users and generate profits.

Ku6's statement did not reveal the name of the major Hollywood studio it had signed with. But a company spokesman said last week that Ku6 had reached a content licensing deal with Warner Bros. to offer both current films and classic movies from its library.

The deal comes after Ku6's CEO, Li Shanyou, acknowledged last month that Chinese users were forced to rely on pirated means to view American TV shows and films online. Now this new deal will give Ku6 users at least some offerings, although Ku6 has made no mention when the content will be available.

"We firmly believe that respecting intellectual property rights is the global best practice for video portals, for today and in the future. We will provide more copyright protected contents to our users," said Li in a statement.

Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures could not be reached for immediate comment.

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