Chinese shopping giant has recently unveiled their plans to launch their own streaming video service within upcoming months. The company’s head of digital entertainment, Patrick Liu, said Alibaba is hoping to mimic the success of services like Netflix and HBO.
Liu said at a press conference in Shanghai today, “Our mission, the mission of all of Alibaba, is to redefine home entertainment. Our goal is to become like HBO in the United States, to become like Netflix in the United States.”
The service, which Alibaba is calling Tmall Box Office (TBO), will buy content from production houses in China and other countries, as well as create movies in-house. Alibaba hinted at its filmmaking aspirations earlier this year, when it announced it was making a movie with one of the country’s most popular directors. As an online marketplace, Alibaba is more profitable than Amazon, but the move falls in line with Amazon’s ambitions to make Amazon Prime Instant a popular destination for video streaming. Liu said about 90 percent of TBO’s content will be behind a paywall and around 10 percent will be available for free, according to Reuters. The firm plans to have users pay either by monthly subscription or on a show-by-show basis.
There’s no telling how successful Alibaba’s offering will be when it launches in a couple of months. However, we have a hunch that Netflix is feeling a lot of pressure to speed up its Chinese talks — it’ll want to get a solid foothold in the giant nation before it’s too late.