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iQiyi to acquire 1,000 US films next year

Chinese on-demand service iQiyi has revealed it will acquire more than 1,000 US feature films next year.

This is to “satisfy growing demand” from users for content from the States, Baidu-owned iQiyi said. In June this year, iQiyi subscribers watched more American films than Chinese-language movies for the first time.

iQiyi CEO Gong Yu last week attended the American Film Market, to acquire content for the streaming platform.

“American movies are hugely popular in China,” he said. “This summer US films overtook Chinese and other international titles to become the most popular titles for paying viewers on iQiyi’s platform.”

iQiyi’s senior VP Yang Xianghua added there was a need for the Hollywood studios to “shorten the window between US release and online release in China to ensure that our users see Hollywood movies at the earliest opportunity. This would combat piracy and increase the revenues that Hollywood and other American movies can earn from online paying users”.

iQiyi charges users 5RMB (US82¢) for new movie releases, and Xianghua said: “If American movies can appear online in a timely manner then Chinese users would prefer a good quality online version to a pirated DVD.”

iQiyi parent Baidu revealed it had significantly upped spend on content for the three months to September 30.

Last week, iQiyi rival Xiaomi said it was spending US$1 billion on acquired TV programming as it pushes into content.