Entertainment

Alibaba Pictures Group signs strategic deal to strengthen entertainment businesses

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By Danielle Long | Asia Pacific Correspondent

March 21, 2017 | 3 min read

Alibaba Pictures, the film studio arm of ecommerce giant Alibaba, has signed a strategic deal with Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group to share and merge resources in a bid to strengthen the group’s entertainment output.

The deal will see the two parties cooperate on copyright and distribution deals for film and television content across Alibaba’s network of entertainment businesses.

Alibaba has signed a strategic deal as it looks to grow its entertainment division

Alibaba Pictures will provide video streaming site Youku Todou with priority and exclusive distribution deals for content, while Youku will give Alibaba Pictures priority for copyright deals for content development, investment, production and distribution of content from Youku, Alibaba Literature and Alibaba Games.

Alibaba Pictures, Youku and Alibaba Literature will also work together to co-finance and develop online movies, and Alibaba Pictures and Youku Tudou will launch the Artist Management Company, a joint venture to streamline talent resources across the entertainment divisions.

As part of the strategic deal, Youku’s film unit, Heyi Pictures, will be consolidated into Alibaba Pictures, in a bid to fully integrate the entertainment business across the group.

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Alibaba Pictures Group and Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group will also pool resources to promote and distribute content across the groups' online and offline channels.

Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group CEO and Chairman Yu Yongfu, said the aim of the deal is to “create synergy and maximise the branding effect” across the group.

“With clear strategies and a strong team, Alibaba Pictures will endeavour to grow in terms of professional knowledge, competitive strengths and business ecologies,” said Yongfu.

This strategic deal comes as Alibaba focuses on growing its entertainment businesses which includes Alibaba Pictures, Youku Tudou, Alibaba Music, Alibaba Sports, Alibaba Games, Alibaba Literature, and Alibaba Digital Entertainment Divisions.

Alibaba's Digital Media and Entertainment Group reported a surge in revenues in Q3 with the business increasing 273% year-on-year to RMB 4.06 billion ($585 million).

Last year, Alibaba Pictures inked a groundbreaking deal with Steven Spielberg's Amblin Pictures to stream movies.

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