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DisneyLife is Going to China

15 Dec, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Media giant’s first standalone subscription streaming service recently launched in the United Kingdom

The Walt Disney Co. Dec. 15 announced it has secured a deal with Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba Group to begin distributing subscription streaming service DisneyLife in the communist country.

DisneyLife, which recently bowed in the United Kingdom, represents Disney’s first attempt at a standalone subscription streaming video service directly to consumers.

The SVOD service, which costs $125 for a year, features Disney and Pixar family movies, including Frozen, Cinderella, Big Hero 6, The Lion King, Tangled, Toy Story, Monsters University, Cars and The Incredibles, among others. Animation series include “Sofia the First,” “Little Einsteins,” “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” and “My Friends Tigger and Pooh.” DisneyLife also features video games, e-books for kids, and a song for every day with hundreds of tunes at launch. All content offered is served via Wasu Media Network Co. Ltd.

The launch coincides with a previous consumer products deal with Alibaba regarding Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron.

DisneyLife also helps consumers navigate visiting Hong Kong Disneyland as well as the pending Shanghai Disney Resort when it opens in 2016. In addition to DisneyLife, shoppers can also access other Alibaba products and services.

“DisneyLife directly connects us to China’s digital population and provides millions of kids and families the ability to explore and engage with Disney,” Luke Kang, managing director of The Walt Disney Co. in Greater China, said in a statement.

DisneyLife’s global debut last month in the U.K. featured a £9.99 monthly service for up to six people in a household featuring catalog Disney TV shows, movies (including Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm), music and audiobooks on portable devices and the TV via Apple AirPlay and Google Chromecast.

Subs also received monthly app access to select content, including the Cars 2 World Grand Prix Read and Race video game.

Disney CEO Bob Iger has reiterated in recent financial calls that there are no plans to launch DisneyLife in the United States. The executive did say that could change with consumer behavior, including possible standalone streaming services around Star Wars or Marvel properties.

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