NBCUniversal International has inked a multi-year licensing agreement with Jack Ma’s e-retail giant Alibaba Group that covers Universal Pictures’ new releases as well as library slate. The titles will be available to view in China on Alibaba’s TMall Box Office platform.
Some of the titles in the agreement include Fast & Furious 7 and Jurassic World, both big hits in China. The pact fits into NBCUni’s ongoing strategy to grow its businesses around the world while also giving Alibaba- currently engaged in a highly competitive tussle with other Chinese online giants Tencent and Baidu- a content edge in terms of reaching Chinese audiences on the increasingly lucrative VOD platforms.
Jack Ma has been increasing his companies’ film-related activities, whether through parent company Alibaba Group, or its dedicated film unit Alibaba Pictures, which recently invested in Tom Cruise-starrer Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. That move repped the company’s first investment in a Hollywood project. In addition to its financial investment, the film unit of the e-commerce giant has been collaborating with Paramount for weeks on online ticketing, promotion and merchandising for the film’s release in China. Over the past two months, Alibaba Pictures has leveraged Alibaba Group’s ecosystem and massive user base to launch a user-targeted approach toward movie promotion and merchandising. The result has been a 2D record opening in China with an opening day gross of $18.5 million.