Youku unveils smart TV, OTT partners

Chinese video streaming platform Youku Tudou has signed strategic partnerships with a slew of local smart TV and OTT manufacturers, eight of which involve exclusive integration of the pre-installed Youku Tudou app.

The partnerships include four OTT companies: Huawei Technologies, which is projected to distribute 1.5 million set-top boxes this year; ZTE9 Network Technology’s Fun Box, described as China’s first Android-based games box; Goldweb Technologies; and Jiuzhou Electronic Technology.

Following these deals, Youku says it now has strategic alliances with all top ten major OTT manufacturers in China. The company says it also has partnerships with China’s top six smart TV players, among which Changhong, Haier and Konka have all chosen to exclusively pre-install the Youku Tudou TV app.

Youku has been slower to announce its smart TV and OTT tie-ups than some of its video streaming competitors. LeTV partnered with Foxconn in 2012 to manufacture smart TV sets, while iQiyi has previously announced tie-ups with TCL Multimedia on the brand TV+ and with Galaxy Internet Television and Skyworth Digital Holdings on set-top boxes.

The Youku Tudou TV app includes a media player, customised channels, social features and search capabilities, among other features. OTT users will be able to access more than 7,000 titles of licensed TV dramas and films; in-house productions, and more than 100 million user generated contents.

According to Digital TV Research, the global smart TV market has tripled in the past five years – and will more than double in the next five years to reach nearly 800 million sets by 2018. China is already the world’s largest smart TV and OTT market with around 20-30 million sets sold annually.