(Adds details on new joint service, Alibaba media strategy)
BEIJING, July 15 Chinese e-commerce giant
Alibaba Group Holding and Lions Gate Entertainment
Corp, the studio behind the 'Hunger Games' films, will
launch a subscription streaming service in China, the firms said
in a statement on Tuesday.
The service, to be known as Lionsgate Entertainment World,
will be exclusive to Alibaba's Internet television set-top boxes
and is expected to launch in August.
It will give users access to Lions Gate content, including
several titles from the 'Twilight Saga' and 'The Hunger Games'
series, as well as television series 'Mad Men'.
Alibaba and its affiliates have aggressively pushed into the
entertainment industry since the beginning of the year, with
more than $3 billion invested since March. The Hangzhou-based
firm is looking to move beyond traditional e-commerce, offering
more digital products like films, games and television.
"This cooperation signals our ongoing commitment to advance
our vision of making digital media entertainment available to
our customers anywhere, anytime," Patrick Liu, Alibaba's
president of digital entertainment, said in Tuesday's statement.
Alibaba is preparing for its U.S. listing later this year,
potentially the biggest ever tech offering, even as it maintains
a steady stream of investments that has seen the firm and its
affiliates invest more than $7.5 billion since the beginning of
In March, Alibaba bought a controlling stake in ChinaVision
Media Group, a film and television content producer,
for $804 million.
It followed this up in April by buying an 18.5 percent stake
in Chinese online video streaming site Youku Tudou Inc
in partnership with affiliated private equity company Yunfeng
Capital. Among Yunfeng Capital's founders is Jack Ma, co-founder
Also in April, Ma and other partners paid $1.05 billion for
a 20 percent stake in Wasu Media Holding Co, mostly
funded with a loan from Alibaba. At the same time, Alibaba and
Wasu Digital TV Media Group signed a cooperation agreement for
online content and Internet TV.
Lionsgate Entertainment World will also offer premium
content and subscriber benefits such as invitations to
screenings, Tuesday's statement said.
(Reporting by Paul Carsten; Editing by Ryan Woo and Kenneth