As the director of this year's gala, Los Angeles-based TV producer David Hill attended today's press conference and commented: "I'm excited to have been brought in to be part of something that is so unique. Combining Alibaba's technology with my experience at other global events we are going to develop a spectacle like no other. This is going to be entertainment that goes beyond expectations and we have a chance to continue to build the legacy of this event. November 10th is eagerly awaited both in China and throughout the world -- I'm looking forward to working with the team over the coming days to ensure that people aren't disappointed."Vastly experienced in live television production, Hill has produced live events as varied as several NFL Super Bowls, the 88th Oscars, and American Idol. This year the gala will re-define "interactive entertainment" by engaging consumers at an unprecedented level. One example is that viewers will be able to take part in competitions by shaking their smartphones equipped with Taobao or Tmall apps during the event, with big prizes to be won or even the chance to win the celebrities' clothes right off their backs. Viewers will also have the chance to play the role of director in certain gala segments where they can let the story play out the way they want it to. In a new element for this year, there will be four one-minute advertising time slots available for free in the categories of consumers, brands, non-profit organizations and 11.11 participants. The lucky winners in each of these areas, who will be chosen as the most-innovative and most-inspiring, will be given the opportunity to have their ad videos played and promote themselves in front of an audience of hundreds of millions. This spectacular gala show, plus mobile live streaming, virtual reality shopping, interactive games and an eight-hour live-streamed fashion show leading up to the November 11 underscore the role that strong entertainment and interactive content will play in engaging all consumers and helping merchants explore new and creative ways to market their brand and products.
This year the gala will be held for the first time in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen at Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre. The gala will be broadcasted live by the official media partner, Zhejiang Satellite TV. Alibaba's media assets like Youku Tudou, Tmall TV Box and UC Web will also be conducting live broadcasts of the gala.Last year the gala was held in Beijing, at the Water Cube. Watched by around 100 million viewers, the four-hour show featured a lot of local and international celebrities. TMall generated RMB91.21 billion (around US$14.34 billion) in gross merchandise volume (GMV) on 11.11 last year, surpassing U.S. online shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. About the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival The 11.11 shopping festival began in 2009 with participation from just 27 merchants as an event for Tmall.com merchants and consumers to raise awareness of the value in online shopping. Seven years later, 11.11 has become a global event with participating merchants in the tens of thousands, buyers in the millions, and total sales in the billions. For additional history and facts from last year's festival, as well as the latest news and updates on the 2016 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, please visit Alizila http://www.alizila.com. About Alibaba Group Alibaba Group's mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere. The company aims to build the future infrastructure of commerce. It envisions that its customers will meet, work and live at Alibaba, and that it will be a company that lasts at least 102 years.