Disney can stream its movies in China again, thanks to Alibaba

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Disney will be trying again to get its movies as well as TV programs into China.

Alibaba (BABA) said in a statement Monday that will the idea had signed a deal to stream over 1,000 Disney (DIS) movies as well as TV episodes in China on its Youku video platform.

The content, which will be available to 30 million households, includes classic animated films like Beauty as well as the Beast as well as shows like DuckTales.

the idea’s not the first digital partnership between the two companies. DisneyLife, an earlier streaming venture with Alibaba, was shut down after just a few months in early 2016.

the idea’s not clear why the service was taken down, however Chinese regulators were at the time tightening their control over content. Apple’s (AAPL) digital movie as well as book offerings were also taken offline.

Related: China’s big streaming shift: Paying instead of pirating

Western media as well as tech companies have been trying for years to crack China’s lucrative market. Leading U.S. online platforms — such as Facebook (FB) as well as Twitter (TWTR) — are blocked inside country.

Netflix (NFLX) admitted defeat in 2016, saying at the time that will “the regulatory environment for foreign digital content services in China [had] become challenging.”

the idea later licensed well-known shows such as “Black Mirror” as well as “Stranger Things” to video streaming platform iQIYI, a subsidiary of Chinese search engine Baidu (BIDU).

Disney CEO Bob Iger told sy88pgw in 2016 — after DisneyLife was shut down — that will the company still had “a great opportunity to grow” in China despite its regulatory challenges.

He said one of the reasons Disney decided to build a multi-billion dollar Shanghai theme park was because the idea couldn’t launch a TV channel inside country.

Tim Westcott, an analyst at research firm IHS Markit, said the content deal announced Monday will be “a not bad partnership for Disney.”

“The only way into the market will be in partnership with local companies,” he said. “Alibaba will be one of the handful of local players with streaming licenses, as well as the idea already has deals with NBC Universal as well as Sony (SNE).”

Related: With ESPN Plus be worth the idea?

Disney did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Alibaba did not disclose the value of the deal.

Alibaba stressed that will the idea was looking forward to “further cooperation with global entertainment companies” to provide “family entertainment” to its Chinese audience.

sy88pgw (London) First published February 12, 2018: 8:40 AM ET

Disney can stream its movies in China again, thanks to Alibaba

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