China’s newest SVOD service, Tmall Box Office (TBO), launched by the Alibaba Group in early September, has secured more than 2,500 half hours of programming from Canada’s DHX Media.
The deal gives Chinese subscribers to the service access to popular kids titles including Teletubbies (pictured), Caillou, Paddington Bear, Super Why!, Rastamouse, Johnny Test and Martha Speaks. Users can now stream the content through Alibaba’s own set-top Tmall Box. According to Alibaba, subscribers can also tap into programming via OTT devices and various smart TVs in China; however, no further details were made available regarding the specific devices at press time.
TBO appeared as part of a recent update to the Tmall Box technology on September 1. The service was announced back in June, just days after rumors began circulating about a pending move by Netflix to expand its SVOD offerings into the Chinese market. The Netflix rumblings have since gone quiet, with the SVOD choosing to launch into Asia via Japan.
The price of TBO is reported to be 39 Yuan per month, or about US$6.14.
It’s the first time DHX has paired with Alibaba on content, but the company is no stranger to the Chinese VOD market. In November, DHX partnered with China National Television (CNTV), a newly created division of China’s state broadcaster, China Central Television, to launch a new streaming service dedicated to DHX’s children’s programming. Under that deal, DHX agreed to provide more than 700 half hours of content to the subscription and ad-supported VOD service. Among the series provided were Inspector Gadget, Madeline and Sonic the Hedgehog.
The service is expected to be available nationally in China (excluding Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan).
DHX Media rep Shaun Smith said China’s growing market remains of interest to the company, adding, “We are actively looking for opportunities.”