Cinedigm, the operator of specialty OTT services in North America, has signed a deal with China’s Starrise Media to release several Starrise productions on its soon-to-launch Chinese content streaming service, Bambu.
The company has also signed deals with Alibaba-owned Chinese streaming giant Youku to distribute 30 original Chinese feature films. The deal covers release on all platforms including Bambu, digital, physical DVDs and Blu-Ray. It recently struck another deal with China International TV Corporation to bring over 500 hours of popular Chinese content to Bambu. This includes “Nirvana in Fire,” “A Bite of China,” “The Advisors Alliance,” and “Diamond Lover,” a current hit series. The Starrise title selections have not yet been released.
Bambu will launch in North America in early 2019. It aims to expand American appreciation of Chinese entertainment by providing going beyond martial arts and period epic genres. It will include contemporary action epics, serial dramas, romantic comedies, sci-fi, horror, and fantasy adventure sagas, music and reality series, and educational programming.
“The innovative and creative content currently being produced in China can build a genuine fan base in the U.S., and young adults are eager to learn about this fascinating country and its rich culture,” said Bill Sondheim, president of Cinedigm Entertainment Group and international distribution.
The upcoming launch of Bambu comes after Cinedigm last year sold a majority stake in the company to Bison Capital, a Hong Kong-based investment firm. Cinedigm currently operates six other niche-oriented OTT streaming networks: mixed-martial arts channel CombatGO; CONtv, geared around pop-culture and fandom; documentary service Docurama; the faith-and-family Dove Channel, HallyPop, and esports channel Wham.
The move by Cinedigm to expand its specialty OTT services comes amid a pullback on the niche-SVOD front by AT&T’s WarnerMedia, which pulled the plug on s pulled the plug on K-drama service DramaFever and FilmStruck, catering to fans of classic, arthouse and indie films.