World Cup 2018

Youku To Bring China Coverage of Upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup

Youku, the Alibaba Group-owned online video hub, is set to provide China’s most comprehensive coverage of the FIFA 2018 World Cup with live streaming of all 64 games together with a number of programs produced exclusively to celebrate one of the world’s most-watched sporting events. In addition, Youku will join hands with brands and business units from the Alibaba ecosystem including Taobao, Alipay, Hema, UC Web, Tudou, Xiami Music, and Damai, to provide viewers an “around-the-clock” integrated experience that will bring the enjoyment of the famous sports spectacle to the next level.

“Given its level of popularity, sports content in China is an effective tool in implementing Alibaba Group’s ‘Double H’ strategy, which aims to promote ‘Health’ and ‘Happiness’,” says Weidong Yang, CEO of AliMusic and President of Alibaba Digital Media & Entertainment Group and Youku. “Not only are we streaming soccer matches, but we’re also leveraging this leading sports event to showcase the power of the Alibaba ecosystem and how Youku can lead the industry and capture opportunities in the China sports market by building relevant content and excitement.”

Youku is partnering with China Central Television (CCTV) to stream all 64 games, along with on-demand videos and post-game highlights — marking the first time that the Chinese audience will be able to enjoy live broadcasts of the entire World Cup tournament on their mobile phones. As the official new media partner of CCTV in this event, Youku and CCTV will co-produce a talk show called Qi Tan Shi Yi Ren, featuring celebrity guests and soccer fans. This is World Ball, a sports program under Youku’s successful This is franchise and hosted by well-known commentators in China, will go live from June 14. Tailoring to the needs of younger audiences, Youku will produce a specialized soccer education program Play football with Peppa Pig. In addition, Youku has acquired distribution rights for more than 20 online World Cup programs to enrich its lineup this summer.

Apart from Youku, UC Web, Tudou, Xiami Music, and Damai, the business units from Alibaba’s Digital Media and Entertainment Group, will work together to create an omni-media matrix covering various types of content, including short videos, music, as well as text and graphics.

Following the success of Street Dance of China and This is Fighting Robots, Youku and a number of leading brands and businesses from the Alibaba ecosystem are joining hands to provide a wide range of promotions and specials that cover e-commerce, restaurant and takeaway food orders, travel, and entertainment content consumption.

On Youku, audiences in China can not only watch the exciting soccer matches, but also enjoy innovative interactions and games. Red envelopes of coupons worth over RMB200 million will be set aside as prizes for an online campaign, where customers collect the cards of soccer stars. Youku, Taobao, Alipay, and UC Web are sponsoring the campaign. Red envelops will also appear during the live streaming of every match. They can be redeemed for purchases on Taobao.

Also, Tmall Genie, the AI-powered smart speaker, will continue the prediction game that was traditionally started by Paul the Octopus, but this time, it will compete with a Boston lobster from Hema. All predictions and results will be announced in the This is World Ball program.

“The extensive offerings from Youku around the 2018 FIFA World Cup reaffirm our commitment to bring the world’s best sports events to Chinese audiences,” adds Yang. “The widespread support from the Alibaba ecosystem also empowers Youku to deliver a superb experience for users to enjoy the popular month-long tournament in many new and innovative ways.”

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