DisneyLife, an online content venture, has been shut down by regulators in China less than five months after it was launched.
Confirmation of the closure follows the shutdown last week of Apple’s iTunes Movies and iBooks services in China. Initially subscribers were told that the service was offline for repair.
DisneyLife, and the Apple services appear to have fallen foul of the new foreign content regulations announced in February and which came into force in April. Sources in China say DisneyLife was closed in March, however, which would appear to pre-date the new law.
The new Regulation for the Management of Online Publishing Services, limits foreign content in the fast-growing online space and crimps joint ventures between Chinese and foreign media firms.
DisneyLife is delivered as a partnership between Disney and Alibaba Digital Entertainment, a unit of Chinese-commerce giant Alibaba, with Alibaba licensing Disney-branded content under a multi-year agreement. Using Alibaba’s T-Mall shopping service, subscribers paid $122 (RMB799) for a Mickey Mouse-shaped receiver and one year membership.
Alibaba has offered to reimburse subscribers in full, reports the South China Morning Post, which is now owned by Alibaba.
The closure of DisneyLife is a blow to the U.S. media giant that comes less than two months before the opening of the joint venture Disney Shanghai Resort theme park.