Chinese portal Sohu scores with videos of UK soccer matches

Chinese portal
Sohu.com gained the rights to show match videos of 16 English football clubs on
its site yesterday, banking that Chinese football fans’ enthusiasm for the
English Premier League will boost traffic and lure more advertisers.

It marks
the latest move by Sohu, the official website partner of the 2008 Beijing
Olympic Games, into sports content as it competes fiercely against rivals like
Sina.com, but it may also push overall advertising sales costs higher, analysts
said.

A Chinese
website for 16 clubs including Liverpool and
Manchester

City was launched yesterday in
Shanghai by Sohu with its partner, PremierGoals Ltd, which
has deals with 75 per cent of the English Premier League clubs to distribute
their match videos and pictures in

China.

The site,
premiergoals.com, is produced by Sohu and also accessible on Sohu’s sports
channel. The videos will be free and feature highlights of the matches and also
delayed broadcasting of some entire matches. No financial terms were disclosed.

Sina
,
China
‘s largest portal, launched a paid
on-air broadcasting service for English football fans in the country in August.

Chinese
football fans were deprived of the free telecast of the English Premier
League’s matches this year as a Guangzhou-Province based TV company bought out
the exclusive rights and offer the matches only to a paid audience.

“It’s
a long-term investment, and we believe the copyright and exclusive videos can
help us gain more users for Sohu as a whole, and eventually pay back in terms
of advertisement spending from our customers who recognize our Website’s
value,” said Ao Ming, director of Sohu sports channel.

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