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Lionsgate teams up with Alibaba in China for subscription streaming service

MUMBAI: US media and entertainment company Lionsgate and Chinese online and mobile commerce company Alibaba Group have joined forces to launch Lionsgate Entertainment World (LGEW), a subscription streaming service for Mainland China that will be available exclusively through Alibaba’s latest generation of set-top box, the two companies announced.

The Lionsgate Entertainment World (LGEW) service will provide users of the Alibaba platform with instant access to such Hollywood blockbusters as the first instalment of the ‘Divergent’ franchise, which has already grossed nearly $300 million worldwide, as well as several titles from the ‘Twilight’ franchise, which has generated more than $3.3 billion at the global box office.

Lionsgate television series such as ‘The Royals’, which is expected to debut early next year on E!, ‘Nashville’, entering its third season on ABC, and the recent miniseries ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ for NBC will all receive their Chinese premieres on the Alibaba platform and will be accompanied by series such as four-time Emmy Award-winner ‘Mad Men’ (AMC) and the comedy ‘Weeds’ (Showtime).

The service’s portfolio of content will be continuously expanded after launch to include such additional titles as ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ and the next instalment, ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’.

The Lionsgate Entertainment World service will stream in high quality resolution (up to full HD) and will offer content recommendations to Chinese viewers based on extensive curation and state-of-the-art technology. The service is expected to launch next month.

Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said, “We’re pleased to collaborate with Alibaba, a world-class brand that is well known and respected among consumers throughout China. Alibaba is the kind of entrepreneurial company with whom we like to be in business, and the launch of our streaming service in China underscores our commitment to innovation and leadership in delivering premium content to digital platforms around the world.”

Alibaba Group’s digital entertainment business unit president Patrick Liu said, “We are thrilled to be collaborating with Lionsgate to offer this new content streaming service and deliver high-quality, entertaining and relevant TV shows and movies to our users. We are committed to expanding our ecosystem where our users can meet, work and live, and this cooperation signals our ongoing commitment to advance our vision of making digital media entertainment available to our customers anywhere, anytime.”

In addition to providing Alibaba’s consumers with a broad and deep Lionsgate portfolio of curated hit film and TV content at launch, the new service will enable Alibaba subscribers to enjoy exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, features and other premium content not available anywhere else in China, along with access to VIP membership benefits such as screening invitations and special merchandise.

The collaboration gives Lionsgate increased access to the vast Mainland Chinese market, one of the largest and fastest-growing territories in the world for film and TV content. David U Lee, founder-president of Leeding Media and a leading architect of US–Chinese media collaborations, helped orchestrate the agreement.

Lionsgate president of worldwide television, digital distribution Jim Packer and Lionsgate Co-COO Brian Goldsmith said, “The Lionsgate Entertainment World service will be distinguished not only by the breadth and depth of our content portfolio but our commitment to provide Chinese consumers with first-run films, television shows and behind-the-scenes experiences that aren’t available anywhere else in China. The combination of Alibaba’s tremendous knowledge of the Chinese market and Lionsgate’s content leadership provide LGEW with unique competitive advantages, and we look forward to continuing our close collaboration with the Alibaba team and our friend David U Lee.”