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Alibaba signs deal to stream Disney cartoons and animated films

An overdue replacement for the failed DisneyLife launch.

Alibaba and Disney have signed a major licensing deal, which was announced in a press release this morning. It includes the distribution and streaming rights to more than 1,000 episodes from Disney animated shows, as well as many of its films (live action movies like Pirates of the Caribbean and animated classics like Mulan).

The Disney products will be streamed on Alibaba’s VOD service Youku and on any other platforms it determines, making Alibaba the primary distributor of Disney content in China. According to Alibaba, the streaming service reaches 580 million devices per day, and this licensing deal is similar to those it already has in place with Warner Bros., Paramount, Fox, NBCUniversal, and others.

It’s been a little under two years since Disney’s streaming service DisneyLife stopped working in China. The Mickey-Mouse-head-shaped gadget was basically a Google Chromecast, and it included a TV and film library, Disney music, ebooks, Disney vacation planning, as well as a merch store. It was announced in December 2015 as a major partnership between Disney and Alibaba but was reportedly squashed by Chinese regulators after five months.

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