Hollywood to launch video-on-demand in China

Cable subscribers in China will be able to access Warner Bros. films on television sets this summer, announced the film studio on June 15, marking the first time on-demand viewing of American movies will be available in China.

In a partnership between YOU On Demand Media and the pay television division, China Home Cinema, of the state-run China Central Television, this 20-year joint venture provides a dedicated movie channel, CCTV-6.

Films from Warner Bros. Entertainment, such as the Harry Potter series, will be available to three million homes with cable television in China this summer.

At the 14th Shanghai Film Festival, June 11-19, the head of the Motion Picture Association of America, Christopher Dodd, a former US Senator, is in China to address lifting the country's limit on exhibiting foreign-made films.

Currently China's quota of foreign films remains at a somewhat flexible 20 films per year. The World Trade Organization ruled that China's restrictions on US books, music and film violate free-trade laws and issued a March 19, 2011 deadline to begin opening the restrictions.

This new arrangement with cable television is seen as progress in the process of extending the distribution of foreign film and television in China's closed media market.

Since it is the first time VOD will be available in China, the results of its success will be watched carefully.

China is seen as the world's fastest growing film market. Box office receipts reached $1.5 billion last year, up from $150 million in 2005, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

RC

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