Alibaba Group and Walt Disney Co. have struck a deal to sell a new smart device for the home that will bring the U.S. entertainment giant’s popular movies, television series and games to Chinese consumers, making it the first home-based kids and family digital destination in China.
Pre-sales of the Mickey Mouse-themed device, which connects TVs to the Internet and costs RMB799 ($125), began today on Alibaba’s online marketplace Tmall.com. The price includes a one-year subscription to DisneyLife, a so-called over-the-top (OTT) service that allows content providers such as Disney to reach its audience via the Web without having to go through traditional cable or Internet service providers.
Through DisneyLife, consumers will get access to feature films such as “Frozen” and “Toy Story,” along with animated series such as “My Friends Tigger and Pooh” and “Little Einsteins.” DisneyLife will also offer games, e-books and even travel services for trips to Hong Kong Disneyland, as well as Shanghai Disneyland when it opens next year.
“DisneyLife directly connects us to China’s digital population and provides millions of kids and families the ability to explore and engage with Disney,” Walt Disney Greater China Managing Director Luke Kang said in a statement.
All of the content included in the agreement is being offered in China through Wasu Media, which is 20 percent owned by Alibaba. Subscribers can access Alibaba products and services through the DisneyLife device, according to a press release from Disney.
The Disney deal is the latest move for Alibaba as it continues to expand beyond traditional e-commerce services and into new areas such as entertainment and sports. In September, the company launched a service called Tmall Box Officethat streams a mixture of third-party shows and original content to consumers’ TVsthrough Alibaba’s own set-top box by subscription and pay-per-view.
Alibaba hascontent deals with Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate to stream their hit movies through Tmall Box Office. Alibaba also acquired leading Chinese video site Youku Tudou in November, further expanding its footprint in the video steaming space.