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Alibaba’s SVOD heads into beta

Tmall Box Office is now available for some of Alibaba's box-top customers for $6.14 U.S. per month.
September 2, 2015

Alibaba’s SVOD service Tmall Box Office — the same one that disrupted talks of Netflix’s possible Chinese expansion — is now live on some box tops.

The service appeared as part of a recent update to the Tmall Box on Sept. 1.

The impending arrival of Tmall Box Office (TBO) was announced back in June, shortly after rumors circulated about Netflix exploring a foray into China. Many analysts agreed Alibaba was making the right move.

Greg Stoller, senior lecturer at the Boston University Questrom School of Business and a longtime analyst of Asian markets (and who has followed Alibaba closely since its IPO in 2014) told StreamDaily in an earlier interview that Chinese consumers are more likely to opt for an SVOD from a local provider.

“The Chinese are one of the most patriotic nations I’ve ever seen,” he said. “I think if they have a choice between a Chinese solution and a non-Chinese solution, unless quality is substantially better or price is substantially better, they will go with the Chinese solution.”

The price of TBO is reported to be 39 Yuan per month, about $6.14 U.S.

A statement from Alibaba Group confirmed Tmall Box Office is “in a beta launch phase and has been rolled out on certain models of the Tmall Box.” No further details were provided pertaining to programming or what platforms TBO will be available on.

According to Jack Ma, Alibaba founder and CEO (pictured), Alibaba’s main e-commerce site has more than 100 million visitors every day.

Meanwhile, talks of Netflix expanding into China have all-but disappeared. The SVOD has, instead, chosen Japan as its Asian launch pad. Netflix was expected to go live in Japan Sept. 2.


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