TBO: Alibaba Announces Plans for Subscription Video Service

Liu Chunning, president of Alibaba’s Digital Entertainment arm, announced that the Chinese e-commerce giant is planning to launch a new subscription video service in two months called Tmall Box Office (TBO). “We aim to become [the equivalent of] HBO and Netflix in the U.S.,” he said during the Shanghai International Film Festival. The service will stream local movies and TV shows, imported content and original programming produced by Alibaba. The service will be available on Alibaba’s smart TVs and OTT box.

Alibaba has partnered with Chinese TV manufacturers Haier, Hisense and TCL. According to Liu, some of the TBO content will be made available for free, while 90 percent will remain behind the paywall.


“This is Alibaba’s latest efforts to build an ecosystem of TV and film content, which already includes a movie-ticketing website, a crowdfunding film product and the film studio Alibaba Pictures,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “The company also owns an 18.5 percent stake in Youku Tudou Inc.,one of China’s biggest video streaming companies.”

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