Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Walt Disney Co. have joined forced to launch an ‘over-the-top’ content system designed to funnel the Disney brand to Chinese consumers.
The two companies entered a multi-year content licensing agreement to launch the product called ‘DisneyLife’ which is now available on Alibaba’s e-commerce platform Taobao, shipping from December 28. The device is shaped like Mickey Mouse and retails for 799 yuan ($125 USD).
Content on the device will include Disney and Pixar films, cartoons and games, bundled in an initial one-year agreement. Buyers will also be able to use the system to buy merchandise an plan trips to the Disneyland theme parks in Hong Kong and Shanghai, leveraging Alibaba’s existing strengths in ticketing and e-commerce. Consumers will also be able to use the system to tap other Alibaba products and services, according to a joint release from both companies.
“DisneyLife directly connects us to China’s digital population and provides millions of kids and families the ability to explore and engage with Disney,” said Luke Kang, Managing Director at Walt Disney.
Alibaba has been rapidly investing in content and subscription services throughout 2015, which has seen them put aside their fierce historic rivalry with Tencent to mutually invest in more than one content deal. Yesterday Alibaba and Tencent announced they would be joining a series of other investors in a $1 billion USD buyout of NASDAQ-listed Chinese film company Bona Film Group. Tencent also struck a deal with Disney in September, winning the exclusive online licensing rights to stream the first six Star Wars movies online.
The latest deal with Alibaba makes China the second country outside the U.S. to experience Disney’s over-the-top streaming service, with the U.K. being the first. The DisneyLife device is advertised in several colors, though currently on Taobao it is only available in black.