Youku.com, China’s most popular online video platform known as a haven for pirated content, is trying to go legit.
Youku launched in China in 2006 and quickly became the premiere destination for pirated content downloads. Now Victor Koo, Youku’s Founder and CEO, is working with GM, Procter & Gamble, and other advertisers to create professionally produced web series—and repair his company’s reputation.
According to a recent BusinessWeek article, General Motors’ China marketers have teamed up with Youku to create a new campaign for the Chevy Cruze featuring young urban Chinese. The series has gained quite a bit of traction, garnering over 84 million views across 10 of the first videos released. “We are going to keep investing in Youku originals,” Koo says.
Though not the first online video platform in China to attract advertisers—Anheuser-Busch’s BudLime brand underwrote That Love Comes, an urban Chinese drama which premiered last October on Tudou.com—Youku is certainly the biggest, capturing 35% of the Chines online video market.
With government censors, and increasingly more sophisticated copyright technology, the days of pirated content may be numbered. Early last March Tudou announced a deal with Disney to show Desperate Housewives, Lost, Criminal Minds, and Cougar Town online, and smaller rival Ku6 Media last year formed a partnership with Warner Bros. and Sony to to stream movies and TV shows.