Chinese online video platform Youku Tudou is launching a film division, Heyi Film, to produce a slate of theatrical features.
Youku founder, chairman and CEO Victor Koo will be chairman of Heyi Film, while Youku senior vice president Allen Zhu, will be CEO of the new subsidiary. Lee Yong-kwan, director of the Busan International Film Festival, will serve on the company’s board as an independent director.
The company’s debut slate includes Bad Sister, directed by Kim Tae-gyun and starring Ivy Chen; The Master, produced by Beijing Century Partner Culture & Media; and Paris Holiday, produced by Hong Kong’s Universe Entertainment and starring Louis Koo. It also plans to produce feature film versions of five web original shows, including Surprise, Yes Boss! and Miss Puff.
“Youku Tudou has helped transform how media and entertainment related content is distributed and marketed since our inception. Going forward, we will continue to change how content is created and monetised by directly connecting with the ever-growing consumer economy,” said Koo.
In addition to producing original content and adapting web content for the big screen, Heyi plans to discover new film talent and expand online fan communities to support new consumer monetisation models.
“As a continuation of Youku Tudou’s effort to build a multi-screen media and entertainment ecosystem, Heyi Film will leverage the big data generated by Youku Tudou’s over 500 million multi-screen users to produce films to the tastes of the Chinese audience in the multi-screen age, and improve film marketing and distribution,” said Youku in a statement.
Youku started dabbling in production last year, investing in films such as action thriller Firestorm, working with the Hong Kong International Film Festival on the Beautiful omnibus films and co-producing Old Boys: The Way Of The Dragon with Le Vision Pictures and Ruyi Films.