updated 10:10 pm EDT, Wed June 15, 2011
Company set to enter closed market
Warner Brothers is reportedly preparing to launch a video-on-demand service in the Chinese market. The move is designed to bring the studio's movie content to a new region, which has proven a difficult country for foreign companies attempting to distribute films through traditional strategies. The studio has teamed with a local VoD company partnered with the state-run broadcaster China Central Television.
The on-demand strategy is believed to be aimed at skirting China's laws surrounding foreign films; only 20 imported titles that share gross revenue are permitted each year, according to a report from the Hollywood Reporter. The World Trade Organization is said to have pushed the government to reform its media laws to make it easier for foreign studios to distribute content.
It is unclear if Chinese authorities will loosen existing restrictions, or merely adapt the current laws to explicitly bar companies from attempting to use VoD services to skirt the 20-film limit. On-demand content is also a relatively new offering in China, leaving further uncertainty in a market already flooded with bootleg copies of foreign films.