Murder, he wrote: Netflix lands Chinese detective drama with 4 billion views

Youku’s Day and Night series, a 32-episode drama, has generated more than 4 billion views since its August debut

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 November, 2017, 8:44pm
UPDATED : Friday, 01 December, 2017, 10:34am

Netflix has secured the exclusive worldwide distribution right for a blockbuster drama series produced by one of the biggest Chinese video hosting and streaming platforms, giving it a significant boost to its footprint as it struggles to launch its video streaming service in China.

Netflix will distribute the Day and Night series, a 32-episode online detective drama produced in China by Youku, in more than 190 markets around the world, according a statement.

The drama, with more than 4 billion views since its August debut, follows a murder investigation. The detective, recused from the case because his twin brother is the top suspect, is later hired as a secret consultant by the new lead investigator of the murder.

The drama will be Youku’s first China-made internet drama series to be distributed worldwide. The online video hub is a unit of Alibaba Group Holding, which owns the South China Morning Post.

Chinese online video platforms had been among the biggest buyers in recent years of Hollywood titles, hit television series, including Netflix’s House of Cards series. But rapid improvements in the production value and standard of China-made content had also created a new opportunity for Chinese drama to be exported.

Netflix extends its global reach to China – but not on its own terms

“The cultural industry is undergoing robust growth in China, and I believe the export of high-quality content will help people around the world gain a better understanding of the soft power of China,” said Yang Weidong, president of Youku, Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group. “I’m delighted that Youku can become a pioneer in driving this initiative with this overseas distribution of our Day and Night series.”

The licensing agreement is Netflix’s first relationship with Youku. In April, Netflix inked an exclusive licensing deal with Youku’s larger rival iQiyi, China’s major streaming-video provider controlled by the country’s internet giant Baidu. The partnership is expected to help Netflix bring a wide range of content to China.

Nextflix has been adding more Asian content. Last month, it introduced a new Korean original stand-up comedy special as well as A Korean Odyssey, a series inspired by the classic novel Journey to the West.