In the first deal of its kind, DreamWorks Animation has signed an agreement with Youku.com, a Chinese site used for streaming videos.
The two organizations will bring the "Kung Fu Panda" franchise online in Mainland China, according to the press release, the first time any DreamWorks films have been made available in China through the Internet.
"As technology matures and Chinese internet users increasingly turn to the web for entertainment, Youku has been able to expand on the traditional movie release roadmap through agreements for studio films," said Victor Koo, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Youku.
"Kung Fu Panda" and its sequel, "Kung Fu Panda 2" can be watched on-demand through Youku Premium. The films have grossed over $1.25 billion worldwide already, and were especially popular in China, with "Kung Fu Panda" as China's number one animated film in 2008.
"It is particularly satisfying that Chinese audiences have responded so enthusiastically to the cultural references within our franchise," said Kelley Avery, Head of Worldwide Franchise Strategy and Distribution for DreamWorks Animation.
Collaborations between Hollywood and China, where numerous American films and television programs surface on websites designed for streaming them, make sense for an industry increasingly battling pirated content online. Additionally, The Guardian reported that China has opened a large animation facility in Tianjin with the intention of creating films that can compete with their American counterparts.
Like YouTube, Youku lets users upload their own videos. It also features licensed content like television and movies.