Netflix and HBO continue to slog it out above the line with streaming movies to the west. So it was a matter of time before Jack Ma decided to start delivering telly entertainment too. This is likely to be strictly family amusement though, in the light of Cyberspace Administration of China’s commitment to cleaning up its cyberspace, and its record of not entertaining unruly service providers.
Economic Club of New York
The Alibaba chair cut a diminutive figure among the heavyweights at New York’s Economic Club on Sunday. The organization hopes to promote the study and discussion of social, economic, and political questions in America, although I am not quite sure how Ma’s new Tmall Box Office connects with this.
Perhaps its members drawn from top finance, business and industry positions were entertaining thoughts of investing at ground floor level in a company that plans to reach out to 600 million families. Certainly Chinese consumers will be interested in shopping online for their movies in the light of a booming ecommerce culture.
Alibaba’s Family Entertaining Model
From the outset is seems clear that Jack Ma is chasing vicarious profit at least initially. Alibaba will stream a mix of overseas and local content through its proprietary smart television sets and decoders. Selling several hundred million more of each sounds like a reasonable proposition even if the net per piece is low.
“We want to create a whole new family entertainment experience,” Liu Chunning president of Alibaba’s digital entertainment provider Haier Group Corp. told journalists on Sunday last. So Alibaba has the hardware lined up already but where will it source the movies when the family entertaining service goes live in two months’ time?
Jack Ma’s Source of Fun Family Movies
The competition for China’s $5.9 billion online video market is Tencent Holdings, and Jack Ma has a $1.5 billion purse to throw into the ring following a successful Hong Kong stake-sale earlier this month. Last October he went shopping in Hollywood, and I hear the parties are openly entertaining thoughts of working more together in the future. Talk on the streets also holds that Wasu Media Holding Co. backed by Jack Ma is chatting quietly with Netflix.