China's Alibaba Pictures Pacts with Shenzhen Media to Produce TV Dramas

AP Images/Invision

Initially the cooperation will involve the production of several e-commerce TV dramas, which integrate Alibaba's product offerings with the shows.

Chinese tech giant Alibaba's film unit has signed a cooperation agreement with the country's sixth-biggest media group, Shenzhen Media, to produce TV dramas linked to Alibaba's e-commerce platforms.

"Alibaba Pictures is one of the few content producers that has both online and offline advantages," said Zhang Qiang, CEO of Alibaba Pictures. "By using Alibaba’s Internet and big data technology, Alibaba Pictures will transform and update the traditional TV production mode. Content production and distribution, grafted with Alibaba’s e-commerce resources, will realize win-win business among production companies, broadcasting companies, businesses and consumers."

It's the latest salvo in Alibaba Pictures' assault on the entertainment industry. This week, it emerged that top Hong Kong filmmakers Stephen Chow and Tsui Hark were in talks to collaborate on a sequel to the $215 million Chinese movie Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons.

Initially the cooperation will involve the production of several e-commerce TV dramas, which integrate Alibaba's product offerings with the dramas, and the groups are in discussion about producing sitcoms with domestic or foreign strong media groups and other Chinese broadcasters. Part of the cooperation will involve promotion and advertising new products during the dramas.

Shenzhen Media operates 11 TV channels, four radio stations, film studios and advertising agencies and is a big player in the wealthy south of China, where Shenzhen is located.

"The combination of Shenzhen Media Group and Alibaba Pictures will create a new development pattern with complementary advantages and a win-win situation, and will pioneer an innovative cross-platform and cross-media development path," said Yue Chuanjiang, CEO of Shenzhen Media Group.

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