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Youku Todou, the Alibaba-owned video streaming platform, has inked a co-development partnership deal with Endemol Shine Group to create and produce original content series.    

The deal will see the two parties work together to create big budget, high-quality non-scripted shows for the China market, starting with two original series.

Endemol Shine China will draw on the company’s international creative expertise in development, production, distribution and technology support. The partnership will also draw on Youku’s audience research system and feedback data analysis to inform the content development process.

The aim is to create content that is locally relevant and appeals to Chinese audiences, as well as also appealing to international audiences, said, Nicola Bamford, chief executive, international operations, Endemol Shine Group.

“This is a great opportunity to partner with Youku to create original, authentic stories that will resonate in China, and have the potential to reach global audiences through Endemol Shine Group's international network and distribution.”

Weidong Yang, president of Youku, Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group, said: “Gone are the days where digital entertainment shows rely on imitating traditional linear channel shows. Digital entertainment shows will be the new engines of industry creativity.”

Yang has previously commented on the need for digital platforms to raise production values and story-telling techniques in a bid to help promote the innovative and creative directions that digital platforms are taking.

China's online video market is experiencing strong growth as Youku Todou competes with Tencent Video and Baidu’s iQIYI for Chinese audiences. The competition is particularly fierce for paid subscribers with Tencent recently claiming to be China’s largest online video platform with 62 million subscribers, followed by iQIYI which has 60.1 million subscribers.

China’s online video market is predicted to be worth RMB752.7bn by 2021 with the video subscription market set to pass 220 million people this year