Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), a division of Viacom Inc. (VIA, VIAB), announced a collaboration with Youku, the video streaming platform of Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA), to develop and produce an original animated series with the working titleLittle Luban. A Memorandum of Understanding for a multi-year content development and distribution partnership between the two companies was signed.
Little Luban will feature characters and themes that the production partners believe will resonate with viewers around the world. Global values of friendship and teamwork, along with specific elements of Chinese culture and philosophy will be incorporated into both the storyline and the visuals. The original production is targeted at younger kids audience, but is also intended to be enjoyed as family-viewing.
The development and production of the animated series will leverage the content development expertise and production resources of Viacom International Studios (VIS), which is responsible for all international content syndication, format sales and production and co-production activities for Viacom outside the U.S.
Youku and VIMN will also further cooperate to develop and license a range of consumer products to support the series.
“We are so excited to partner with Youku and welcome Little Luban to the Nickelodeon family. It’s a natural brand fit and we are looking forward to developing the project into something that kids around the world will watch with love,” said Nina Hahn, VIMN’s Senior Vice President, International Production & Development, Nickelodeon.
Pierre Cheung, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Greater China, VIMN, said, “We have a big pool of animation talent here in China and we’re continuously exploring opportunities to collaborate with local partners. We’re delighted to partner with Youku and now add Little Luban to our slate of projects. We’re very confident the characters and concepts will have strong appeal to Youku’s viewers and we look forward to introducing Little Luban to Nickelodeon viewers in other markets.”
“We are excited to join forces with Viacom to create an original and uplifting story inspired by Chinese tradition and culture,” said Aaron Liao, General Manager of Youku Kids. “We look forward to not just bringing the series to Chinese viewers, but also sharing these characters with children and families across the world.