The deal represents a breakthrough for Walt Disney in its efforts to enter China.
On Monday, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd stated its entertainment business has signed a licensing agreement with Walt Disney Co to provide Disney’s collection of animation on the group’s Youku video streaming platform in China.
The multi-year licensing agreement signed by Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group with Walt Disney’s subsidiary Buena Vista International Inc will see more than 1,000 Disney episodes released on Alibaba’s platform, including set-top boxes.
For Disney, the deal represents a breakthrough in China, as it has faced a series of obstacles in getting the rights to stream its digital contents in China.
In 2016, its DisneyLife online content venture, launched in collaboration with Alibaba, was shut down by Chinese regulators less than five months in the offing without them publicly disclosing a reason for the closure.
“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 Youku at Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group.
Alibaba did not disclose the value of the deal.
According to Alizila, Alibaba’s news website, Youku reaches 580 million devices and gets about 1.2 billion views per day.
Incidentally, Youku has similar licensing deals with Sony Pictures Television, Warner Bros., Fox, NBCUniversal, Paramount and others.