DragonTV, a Shanghai-based Chinese TV station, announced earlier this week a partnership with Alibaba Group that will leverage the Internet-based services of the latter, from online marketplace to financial products, to create new business models.

DragonTV has registered some of its most popular TV programs with Yulebao, a mutual fund for Alibaba users. Two months ago Alibaba rolled out Yulebao that was created on top of Yuebao.

Yuebao was one of the biggest things in China last year that had had about 50 million Alibaba users bought the mutual fund operated by THFund, the mutual fund company Alibaba bought a controlling stake in, in half a year since launch. Yulebao is a similar fund that the funding is supposed to be used for the production of certain entertainment or other cultural products — the first two Chinese characters Yu Le means entertainment.

It’s not that the TV station needs funding but they think it’s more of a loyalty program. Yelebao itself has come up with some offerings to encourage audiences to invest in certain movies or programs; for instance, meetup with movie crew, exclusive movie premiere, visit to movie/program production companies, and so on. DragonTV thinks, by changing them into investors, audiences will be more engaged and loyal to certain programs. The TV station thinks eventually they’ll be able to take advantage of this Fans Economy, as reported by 21cbn.

While increasingly more users watch TV programs through online video sites, DragonTV has realized that TV channels operated by TV stations don’t make any sense to those users anymore. So another reason it partners with Alibaba is it hopes to have its own programs on the home screen of set-top boxes or other hardware products or operating systems by the Chinese Internet giant.

Alibaba will also develop a mobile game based on a program by DragonTV that will air soon.

Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com

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