China's Alibaba in Digital Home Entertainment Bundling Deal With DMG, Hunan TV

Illustration by: Lars Leetaru

The pact is the latest in Alibaba's quest to expand its entertainment business and covers gaming, film and TV content, as well as education, shopping and other offers.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has struck a long-term partnership with L.A.- and Beijing-based film company DMG and Hunan TV to create China’s first digital home entertainment platform that will bundle subscription services for Internet, phone and TV.

The bundled service, which includes gaming, film and TV content, as well as education, shopping and other offers, will initially be offered to Hunan TV’s 6 million cable TV subscribers and will then expand across China, according to a Shenzhen Stock Exchange filing. Both DMG and Hunan are listed on the exchange.

The service will be offered as part of Alibaba's T-Mall platform.

The move is part of Alibaba's efforts to expand its entertainment business. Hunan TV is seen as one of the most progressive TV companies in China. In March, Hunan TV signed a $375 million co-investment deal with Lionsgate Entertainment.

Alibaba announced last month that it was investing in Paramount's Mission: Impossible 5 and it also said it would launch a Netflix-like streaming service called TBO in the coming months.

"With this announcement DMG begins the transition into a technology entertainment company," DMG, which co-produced Iron Man 3 in 2013, said. "As an industry leader in global and Mandarin-language entertainment content in all mediums it’s an ideal distribution platform for content based off our IP, like Valiant and Mini Marilyn, along with our slate of Chinese-language TV series."

Hunan is the 10th largest province in China, located in the south with a population of 70 million.

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