Alibaba buys into Spielberg JV prodco

Scripted-logo-460_2Steven SpielbergThe entertainment arm of Chinese conglomerate Alibaba Group has acquired a minority stake in Amblin Partners, the joint venture prodco in which Steven Spielberg and Entertainment One are partners.

Alibaba Pictures will coproduce, market and distribute feature films as part of the agreement, and gets a seat on the Amblin Partners board.

Film director Spielberg launched Amblin Partners as a JV of his DreamWorks Studios, Participant Media, Reliance Group and eOne in December last year.

Though the Alibaba investment is primarily directed at movie-making, Amblin Partners has a stated goal to create both film and TV, and has Amblin Television Michael Wright as CEO.

Amblin claims Alibaba’s participation will help the prodco broaden its distribution reach and consolidate relationships in China, with Alibaba now the territory’s official rep.

Alibaba owns Chinese on-demand platform Youku Tudou and jointly operates the DIsneyLife SVOD service with The Walt DIsney Company in China.

“Among Chinese consumers, there is an increasing demand for premium global content,” said Alibaba executive chairman and founder Jack Ma at a press conference in Beijing to announce the deal. “I believe this collaboration can serve as a cultural bridge and have a positive impact on the next generation of Chinese consumers.”

“We are proud and excited that such a valued company as Alibaba Pictures is joining with our other highly-respected partners, Reliance Entertainment, Participant Media and Entertainment One, in building our growth and strengthening our company even further,” said Spielberg, whose company has produced shows such as CBS summer series Under the Dome.

“Our vision is to inspire and entertain audiences through creativity and imagination both here and around the world. We would also like to thank Jack Ma for his friendship and support.”

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