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Alibaba’s Youku Inks VR Pact With Digital Domain

Youku, the huge streaming video platform that is part of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has struck a deal to acquire and develop virtual reality (“VR”) content from Digital Domain Holdings.

In addition to buying DDH’s VR and CGI content for online distribution in Greater China, Youku will develop and produce 360 live streaming and pre-recorded video, VR, augmented reality and immersive media contents.

Digital Domain recently completed a VR concert featuring the famous Hong Kong cartoon character McDull; “Dark Fairy Tale”; a VR video jointly produced by Digital Domain, Youku and Hxmstudio; and the first VR music video featuring TF Boys.

The two companies also plan to cooperate in the “virtual human” business, in which animated likenesses of performers – living and dead – can be re-created. DDH said that it had recently reached an agreement with the estate of Anita Mui to create new likenesses of the late Hong Kong singer-actress, who died in 2003. DDH previously created theatrical concert performances with its holographic re-creation of Taiwanese singer Teresa Teng.

Youku, which merged with Tudou in 2012 to create video streaming colossus Youku Tudou, was acquired by Alibaba in a $4 billion deal in November last year.

DDH, which is listed on the Hong Kong stock market, acquired Digital Domain 3.0 Group, which comprises Digital Domain 3.0, Digital Domain Prods. 3.0 and Mothership Media.

Youku’s platform, network and resources will allow Digital Domain to develop a vfx ecosystem combining advanced technology, original content production and a distribution platform,” said Daniel Seah Ang, executive director and CEO of Digital Domain, speaking from Shanghai.

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