January 24, 2018
Netflix is the world’s biggest subscription streaming video force. China is the largest (government controlled) untapped SVOD market.
After failing to launch standalone service, Netflix last April inked a content license agreement with iQIYI, a Chinese streaming video unit of Baidu, for programing, including “Stranger Things” and “House of Cards,” among others.
Now, the multinational Baidu, which operates search engines and other Internet-related platforms in China, wants to up original content offerings.
Baidu claims iQIYI has more than 400 million users – nearly four times Netflix’s global subscriber base. Last year it raised more than $1.5 billion selling bonds to investors.
Other Chinse SVOD players include Sohu, Leshi, Tencent and Youku Tudou, which is owned by ecommerce behemoth Alibaba.
In an interview with CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Ya-Qin Zhang, president of Baidu, suggested iQIYI would significantly increase its original content portfolio.
“Our head of content is working hard to bring more content to China and to produce more content,” Zhang said. “You’ll see a lot more exciting deals.”
Whether this includes more programing from Netflix or other third-party sources remains to be seen.