Disney, Shanghai Media Group Expand Alliance


SHANGHAI: The Walt Disney Company and Shanghai Media Group are expanding their long-term strategic relationship to include television content development, movie co-production, content distribution and cooperation in marketing initiatives.

"The strength of this deepening relationship with Disney, and the volume and diversity of the initiatives that we are pursuing, helps set the foundation of a multi-faceted strategic alliance with Disney," said Li Ruigang, chairman of Shanghai Media Group. "The series of projects we are announcing today represents an exciting new phase in our long-term alliance. We believe that they will serve as the cornerstone of actualizing SMG's vision in applying world-class creative process; contribute towards the success of local content creation for international markets and create new business models across both digital media and traditional spaces. The endeavors will help us to transform the organization and accelerate its path towards digital success."

Robert Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, noted: "Disney is committed to providing high-quality entertainment experiences to audiences worldwide. SMG's spirit of innovation, diverse platforms, digital destinations and assets provide unparalleled access to that entertainment in China."

The relationship between the two companies includes Born in China, a new Disneynature film currently in production for a theatrical release in 2016. Exploring China's wildlife, the film will include rare footage of endangered snow leopards. In addition, Disney says it is in "active discussion" with Toonmax for a kids' animated series based on a popular Chinese cultural icon.

Earlier this year, Disney and SMG announced a multi-year studio movie script and talent development fund with the view to co-developing Disney-branded movies that would be made as U.S.-China co-pros. Last year, Disney announced a partnership with SMG's IPTV operator BesTV New Media Company for a joint-venture company in Shanghai that will expand families' and kids' digital choices. That JV is in the final stages of being registered.