Alibaba Pictures losses increase but revenue jumps

The Hong Kong-listed film-making division reported revenue almost quadrupled, but losses continue to mount.

Alibaba's Hong Kong-listed film-making division, Alibaba Pictures Group, said first half revenue  quadrupled to 1.06 billion yuan (US$158 million) fuelled by booming distribution and online marketing activity.

But net losses grew to 561 million yuan from 466 million yuan a year earlier due to marketing and subsidies for online movie ticketing platform Tao Piao Piao, according to a stock exchange filing on Wednesday.

Content production revenues increased 1.5 times to 111 million yuan and its internet-based promotion and distribution operation generated 913.9 million yuan, tripling the result for the same period last year.

“Utilizing its technological capabilities and resources, Alibaba Pictures will continue to fortify the business foundation in its ecosystem, and develop innovative business initiatives,” the company said.

It has also set up an entertainment licensing business unit which will deal with the authorized merchants of brands and intellectual property rights holders. The unit recorded 37 million yuan of income during the six months.

Alibaba Pictures said this month Fa  Luyuan, a former top executive at the group's Ant Financial, has been appointed chief executive to drive business synergy between other Alibaba subsidiaries and business units.

The company said it "allocated significant resources" to the online ticketing business in the first half, including subsidies to cinemas to expand the user base and fight for market share in the highly competitive domestic market.

Alibaba Pictures increased its stake in Tao Piao Piao to 96.7 percent this year and says it is "committed to investing in Tao Piao Piao and is confident of its market potential in the Group’s entertainment ecosystem.”

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