Los Angeles-based content aggregator Cinedigm will launch its Chinese entertainment AVOD channel Bambu in June, and partner with OTT platform Future Today for distribution. The company also recently announced a definitive agreement to acquire the latter for $45 million in cash and $15 million in Cinedigm common stock, a deal expected to close in the second quarter of 2019.
Bambu seeks to bring Chinese-language content to primarily North American Generation Z and millennial viewers. It has been acquiring Chinese TV and film titles for months, including the popular “Journey to the West” TV series, Jackie Chan-starring 2017 fantasy film “Namiya,” and road trip comedy “Breakup Buddies,” among others.
Deals in the past six months include a 30-feature film deal with Youku; 500 hours of popular content from China International TV Corporation, a subsidiary of state broadcaster CCTV, which includes hot period drama “Nirvana in Fire” and food documentary “A Bite of China”; and 40 films licensed non-exclusively from China Lion.
President of Cinedigm Digital Networks Erick Opeka said that Future Today’s “long-established and highly successful advertising and sales strategies are a truly invaluable resource that will play a vital role in further expanding our reach.”
Vikrant Mathur, co-founder of Future Today, said his company would “work to give the platform the widest distribution among all Chinese-content channels in the United States.”
Established in 2006, the Menlo Park-based company has developed more than 700 channels like HappyKids.tv and Fawesome.tv available on smart TVs and via devices like Roku. Its apps have been downloaded 60 million times, primarily in North America, and their 200,000 content assets in categories such as film, food and lifestyle, animation and kids currently receive over 85 million video views per month.
Cinedigm historically specialized in equipping cinemas with digital projection technology, but now that most U.S. theaters have switched already switched over to digital projection, they are increasingly moving into the online video space.