'Teletubbies' Reboot Headed to Alibaba's Youku in China

Teletubbies H

The online video giant will stream a revamped version of the classic preschool show featuring Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po.

Chinese streaming video platform Youku, a unit of Alibaba Digital Media & Entertainment Group, has nabbed the first two seasons of the new Teletubbies series from Canada's DHX Media.

Youku, often dubbed China's YouTube, will launch the Teletubbies reboot in China along with Baidu's iQiyi service, a rival streaming video service that earlier licensed the original Teletubbies series.

The twin Chinese SVOD operators will target an existing fan base for Teletubbies in China. The preschool series was the first Western kids TV property to air in China, reaching around 300 million kids on state broadcaster CCTV.

DHX Media and U.K. partner Darrall Macqueen developed and produced the latest incarnation of Teletubbies for CBeebies in the U.K., with the alien toddlers Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po returning with sound play and physical comedy. Outside of China, the Teletubbies reboot has been picked up by around 24 broadcasters worldwide, including the Nick Jr. channel in the U.S. and Amazon Prime Video in the U.K.

The classic Teletubbies series first bowed in 1997. The original episodes have aired in over 120 markets.

Alibaba, led by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, is looking to Youku for synergies between the online video service and his core e-commerce business in the same way U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon leverages its in-house streaming video offerings for its Prime customers.