Several video-streaming Web sites in China have partnered to bring pay-to-view movies to online users, according to a local report.
On Thursday, Xinhua News Agency reported an alliance between letv.com, qq.com, joy.cn, xunlei.com, baofeng.com, pptv.com and pps.tv, in which they will share and stream legitimate films via a joint Web site as well as standardize the fees charged to users.
Quoting Letv.com vice president Jia Yuemin, Xinhua said the partnership will benefit Chinese netizens by providing authorized copies of movies as well as high-definition streaming at a reasonable price.
Previous reports note that China has been a hotbed of video piracy but the government is working to crack down on such Web sites.
Aside from providing a legitimate source for the audience, Jia noted that the online cinema will provide an opportunity for lesser-known film makers to showcase their work to a wider audience. According to Xinhua, only 260 out of 526 Chinese films made it to the big screen last year.
The first film to be screened through the alliance's Web site is "Cherish Our Love Forever", Xinhua said.
The news agency also pointed out that an experimental pay-per-view screening of "Let the Bullets Fly" by Tudou in January "received positive response" from its online audience who were charged 5 RMB (US$0.76) to see the film for 48 hours.
An analyst noted in a previous ZDNet Asia report that China is a large market for Web videos because of its huge number of netizens who are getting their entertainment fix from the Internet rather than broadcast television.