A screengrab from Storyful Viral’s new channel on Youku. Image via Youko.com.

Social news agency Storyful taps Chinese audience with Youku partnership

A screengrab from Storyful Viral's new channel on Youku. Image via Youko.com.

A screengrab from Storyful Viral’s new channel on Youku. Image via Youko.com.

Dublin-based social news agency Storyful, which celebrated a billion views on YouTube last year thanks to its discovery, and subsequent posting of, compelling clips, has announced a new agreement with Youku, China’s biggest video sharing portal, to stream its content across the PRC. The deal allows Storyful to reach Youku’s 500 million users for the first time with its new channel.

“搜视•歪事儿, Storyful Viral’s Chinese brand, will showcase the most compelling and trending viral videos licensed by Storyful and will allow Storyful to tap into a new global audience through rapidly growing Chinese social media platform,” Storyful announced in a statement this week.

Youku Senior Vice President Frank Wei Ming said his company: “…is very pleased to be working with such a high-quality international partner… Storyful has aggregated a huge amount of top videos from social media, both in China and abroad, and created a unique way to resolve the copyright problems that have longed troubled the viral video space… this resonates with Youku’s aim of streaming authentic content.”

Storyful CEO Rahul Chopra said, “We are delighted to launch a channel on YouKu and engage with a massive new audience. Storyful had built its reputation in finding, verifying and managing the most engaging and valuable videos on the social web. Storyful’s global team of journalists in Hong Kong, Dublin and New York will oversee the 24/7 management of the new channel.”

The announcement follows Youku’s recent lucrative forays into original movie and TV content, in the vein of Netflix in the U.S. However, those innovative steps have been marred by larger criticisms of the Chinese government’s ability to censor the platform, including the recent removal of Chai Jing’s viral hit documentary about Beijing’s controversial pollution levels, ‘Under the Dome’.

Storyful, which was acquired by global media giant News Corp in December 2013, however, will be keeping the focus on “humor, delight and wonder” on its new Youku channel, meaning it is unlikely to fall foul of Chinese censors. At the time of writing Storyful Viral’s Youku channel had clocked up almost 1 million views and 170 fans.