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Disney

Alibaba Helps Disney OTT Expand Into China, And That's Bad For Netflix

DisneyLife streaming service is entering China via Alibaba, but it won't be facing stiff competition in the country from Netflix for a while.

By Matt Moreno | December 15, 2015

Disney is expanding on-demand streaming to China. 

The company is partnering up with Alibaba to bring DisneyLife to China, making it only the second country, aside from the U.K., to have access to Disney's over-the-top (OTT) streaming service. (Video via Disney UK)

The service gives Alibaba customers access to Disney and Pixar games, songs, shows and movies, like "Frozen," "The Lion King," "Toy Story" and more. All of the content is being offered by Wasu Media Network Co. Ltd. (Video via Walt Disney Studios)

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DisneyLife's China release will require customers to buy a $125 Mickey Mouse-shaped device, which will include a one-year subscription to the service. 

DisneyLife launched in the U.K. in November for about $15 a month, but movie titles from Marvel and "Star Wars" were notably missing. Disney's media release about its China venture didn't mention titles from those outlets either.  

But Disney's streaming services are still expanding in both content and countries. DisneyLife is expected to debut in Italy, France, Spain and Germany throughout 2016, and, TechCrunch writes, Disney CEO Bob Iger has hinted that separate "Star Wars" and Marvel apps could be on the way in the U.S. 

The move is a big one for both Disney and Alibaba. Alibaba, similar to Amazon, is expanding its OTT reach, and teaming up with one of the world's most recognizable entertainment brands helps.

The partnership also means they're beating Netflix to the world's most populated country. Netflix has announced plans to expand to China by the end of 2016, but no firm strategy has  been revealed. (Video via Netflix / 'Master of None')

The DisneyLife device can be purchased through Alibaba's Tmall. 

This video includes images from Getty images. 

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