20th Century Fox Signs Streaming Deal With Baidu’s iQIYI

Part of a poster celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8 (Courtesy The Revenant official Weibo)

Chinese video streaming service iQIYI has signed a multiyear film output agreement with 20th Century Fox to give its 10 million paid subscribers on-demand access to the Hollywood studio’s theatrical releases.

The agreement will see Fox films such as The Martian, The Revenant,  The Peanuts Movie and other recent major theatrical releases streamed in China on iQIYI first.

“We are extremely pleased to expand our partnership with iQIYI for this innovative deal to bring their subscribers first access to 20th Century Fox’s films in China,” said Fox chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos.

The online video company, which is an independently operated subsidiary of Internet search giant Baidu, competes against the likes of Tencent Video, Sohu.com and LeEco (formerly LeTV) in China’s rapidly-growing online video market.

The deal provides further evidence of the importance of the Chinese online streaming market to Hollywood studios as the market evolves. iQIYI has over 500 million users and 10 million paid subscribers as of December 2015, and boasts one of the largest movie libraries in China’s online video industry, a substantial chunk of which is made up of major Hollywood studio productions.

Last year the company, founded in Beijing in 2010, also inked a deal with Paramount Pictures to acquire the Internet broadcast rights for 800 existing and future movies. The company has also signed long-term deals with both Lionsgate and Universal Pictures for a number of high-profile feature films.

In October the company announced it was investing approximately 50% of their overall 2016 budget into purchasing and producing over 40 new shows.