Listed Chinese search engine giant Baidu has taken a US$160 million stake in Zhejiang Huace, one of China’s largest and most prolific TV drama, and increasingly film, production companies.
As part of the deal, Baidu’s online video offering iQiyi will have exclusive access to Huace’s content output for its platform. At the same time, the move provides a content development outlet for Baidu’s “literature” platform.
The move is seen by many within the industry as a possible way to lock in content from reliable production companies as the price demanded by China’s production companies continues to rise.
And Baidu’s online video offering iQiyi putting US$160 million into production giant Zhejiang Huace to secure a content pipeline, iQiyi will launch five new high budget web only shows in the near term.
According to local sources, the production budget for the first of the series, a program now titled as “Daomu” has reached US$11.44 million. Working titles and names for the other four series are not yet available.