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Youku Launches Partnership Plan 3.0
Latest phase of its strategic plan to promote the healthy development of the online video copyright market in China
By Mi2N
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Youku, China's leading Internet video platform, released its Partnership Plan 3.0, a strategic map aimed at rationalizing and developing a healthy online copyright market for China.

The plan highlighted achievements in the Partnership Plan so far. Domestically, Youku has already invested over 100 million renminbi in domestic copyright licensing, and has obtained 80 percent of available licenses for domestic television series. Youku has licensed more than 10,000 episodes in 2010.

Partnership Plan 1.0 was launched on June 11, 2008, and sealed licensing deals with over 100 offline media partners. November 11 of that same year saw the launch of Partnership Plan 2.0, which resulted in strategic partnerships with over 300 media outlets and 1500 separate production studios involved in producing television dramas.

In the course of three years, Youku has established strategic partnerships for licensing and/or content production with 43 domestic television stations. Youku has effectively created an on-demand Internet television that covers 108 popular entertainment programs.

Youku has also increasingly become the online partner of choice for entertainment industry players, from studios to agencies to stars, who have set up Official Channels on Youku to interact directly with fans.

International Partnerships

Youku also announced it has reached an agreement with the South Korean television station SBS to license all TV series produced by the network, as well as any produced in the coming three years. Roughly 200 series, with more than 6000 total episodes, fall under the deal. The deal makes Youku China's largest platform for Korean television shows, which are enormously popular with China's online video viewers.

In addition to the partnership with SBS, Youku has also established strategic partnerships with other major Korean stations, including KBS and MBC. Between them, these account for over 1000 episodes.

Animation and Music Videos

Youku has also invested heavily in music and cartoon copyrights. Fully one-half of all available music videos on the market in China are now under license from Youku. This includes tens of thousands of videos from dozens of prestigious record companies, including Sony, EMI China/Typhoon, EE Media, Avex, Ocean Buterflies International, Seed, Taihe Rye Music, and Rock Records, which will all be accessible soon on Youku.

Youku has also partnered with major domestic animation houses for series including the runaway hit series Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf and Armored Warrior.

Advances in copyright protection

In January, Youku launched China's first digital fingerprinting system for identifying and filtering out infringing content, an automated solution that prevents upload of content for which no license is held.

Also in January, Youku joined the China Network Copyright Working Committee, the first official industry group targeting Internet copyright issues in China. And in late March, Youku CEO Victor Koo attended the Internet Film and Television Development 2nd CEO Roundtable to initiate work on guidelines for film and television copyright protection and cooperation.

In February, Youku partnered with other Chinese Internet video sites to create China's largest video webcast network, covering 80 percent of the Chinese online video market. This joint webcast network was inspired by a similar model among cable television companies, and aims at creating a platform that spans media, audiences, devices, and distribution channels.

Youku founder and CEO Victor Koo said he was proud of Youku's pioneering role in promoting media partnerships in the online video market. "Copyrighted content has been Youku's strategic emphasis since 2007, the year the company initiated cooperation with television stations. Youku started buying classic movies and television series from distributors in 2008, and from 2009 to 2010 we have been focusing on popular television dramas."

Quality copyrighted content broadcast on more platforms will increase overall viewership and ratings, said Koo. "We call for a new business model based on an open attitude, an orientation toward mutually beneficial cooperation, and a more rational way of thinking," Koo said.

"Youku has adopted a comprehensive approach that begins with creating the conditions for the sound development of this still new industry, and that elevates the industry's influence in different aspects of branding, marketing, and user experience," Koo explained.

Liu Dele, Youku's CFO and senior vice president, delivered a keynote speech. "Youku is not only the leading company in the online video market, but is also an enterprise with a high degree of social responsibility. We believe it is our mission to help create an industry chain built on integrity, openness, and mutual benefit. We believe this will create value for content producers, distributers, advertisers, and users, and will maximize the added value of copyright. And we believe that building such a chain will be of benefit to the Chinese Internet-one of China's strategic industries. Youku aims to be a competitive Internet company both domestically and internationally."

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