iQiyi Confirms Netflix Deal, ‘Hopes’ for Top Shows

Chinese streaming platform iQIYI confirmed its licensing deal with global streaming giant Netflix on Wednesday.

iQIYI confirmed that the two companies had formally agreed to content licensing cooperation covering dramas, animation, documentaries, reality TV shows and other types of content, in a statement.

Further, the company said it hoped that upcoming seasons of Netflix shows such as Black Mirror and Stranger Things will be able to screen to their premium customers in China simultaneously with their release in the United States and the rest of the world.

Other shows included in the deal include Black Mirror, Stranger Things, Mindhunter, BoJack Horseman and Ultimate Beastmaster.

Chinese censors require imported series to be approved in their entirety before going to air. That would seem to fit well with Netflix series which are released in full for binge-watching.

Yang Xianghua, senior VP of iQiyi said in the statement that the deal was in line with other similar agreements that had been made for high-quality foreign content.

Yang said that the two companies would “monitor content creation trends and development prospects” and, “at the same time, iQiyi will strictly adhere to all relevant legal provisions related to online streaming of TV and film content.”

The deal comes around six months after Netflix officially put its plans to enter the Chinese market on ice.

“We still have a long-term desire to serve the Chinese people directly, and hope to launch our service in China eventually,” the company said in a letter to investors last October, in which it described the regulatory environment for foreign digital service providers as “challenging.”

The company indicated its new strategy would be to license content to existing online service providers — which it has now done with iQiyi. At the time, Netflix admitted the plan would only result in “modest” revenues.

Additional reporting Belinda Zhang.