Paramount gave greenlight in following up streaming deal in Germany with “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” transactional video-on-demand agreement with QIYI Inc., the online video company launched by Chinese search engine Baidu Inc.
Paramount Home Entertainment Nov. 1 said it entered into an agreement with Chinese online video company QIYI Inc. to offer transactional video-on-demand access to action movie Transformers: Dark of the Moon beginning Nov. 21. The pact follows a recent VOD agreement between DreamWorks Animation and Chinese video service Youku.com for the “Kung Fu Panda” movies.
Dark of the Moon is the highest-earning film in the “Transformers” franchise and grossed mnre than $1 billion in worldwide box office. In China, Dark of the Moon earned more than $10 million on its opening day and went on to become one of the highest-grossing films in Chinese theatrical history.
As part of the agreement, QIYI also will have the right to distribute the film to other companies within the China market for transactional, subscription and free video-on-demand services. QIYI is extending its special procurement model to Hollywood productions so that international films will be shown to Chinese audiences from QIYI.com.
The deal follows up a recent transactional and subscription VOD offering Paramount made in Germany for the country’s pay-TV window.
The VOD agreement in China is significant considering the communist country has been a tough market to crack for Hollywood due to rampant piracy and a burgeoning black market for movies and western entertainment. The World Trade Organization earlier this year mandated that China ease import restrictions for foreign entertainment, including theatrical and packaged media movies. The Motional Picture Association of America contends foreign media restrictions have contributed to a $6 billion illegal DVD industry in China.
“QIYI is in a leading position to provide legitimate content to online audiences in China,” said Hal Richardson, president of Paramount Home Media Distribution.