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Alibaba signs deal to broadcast Disney content

Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group has signed a multi-year content licensing agreement with a Walt Disney subsidiary to stream its animated content.

Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group has signed a multi-year content licensing agreement with a Walt Disney subsidiary to stream more than 1,000 episodes of Disney animated series on Chinese video streaming platforms.

The agreement will cover multiple distribution channels, including Alibaba's flagship online platform Youku, via PC and mobile, as well as direct-to-the-consumer video platforms selected by Alibaba via SmartTV and set-top boxes, according to a joint statement today. 

“The addition of Disney content greatly enriches the library of quality international content on Alibaba’s media and entertainment ecosystem, giving us a leading edge in foreign content distribution in China," said Yang Weidong, president of Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group's video streaming platform Youku.

"We look forward to further cooperation with global entertainment companies, which will help increase our penetration in the family entertainment segment and strengthen Youku’s position as a leading multi-screen entertainment and media platform in China," he added. 

More than 100 live-action and animated Disney movies, including titles such as "Pirates of the Caribbean," and animated classics "Beauty and the Beast," "Mulan" and "Frozen," would also be a part of the licensed content under this multi-year licensing agreement.

In December last year, Youku also signed licensing deals with NBCUniversal and Sony Pictures Television to access the two studios' movie libraries and broaden its content offering and to strengthen its partnership with overseas studios.

Alibaba Group has been driving its digital media and entertainment business since it set up its cultural and entertainment business unit in 2016. In the fourth quarter last year, revenue from its digital media and entertainment business surged 33 percent from a year ago to 5.4 billion yuan (US$856 million).

Earlier this month, Alibaba Group said it will pay 4.68 billion yuan for 7.6 percent of Wanda Film at 51.96 yuan per share, becoming Wanda Film’s second-largest shareholder.

The revenue of China's online video industry reached 21.86 billion yuan in the second quarter of 2017, rising 14.4 percent from a year earlier, according to a report by domestic Internet consultancy iResearch Inc.

It estimated online video streaming market size to reach 200 billion yuan by 2020, with video platforms diversifying their offerings and paid content continuing to push up income.

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