iQiyi posts its first profitability of 2022, with increased AIGC investment
Chinese streaming site iQiyi posted its first profitability year in 2022 thanks to a booming paid member base, fueled by welcomed net dramas and surging demand during the pandemic, the Nasdaq-listed firm said.
iQiyi has relaxed restrictions on membership sharing and TV mirroring for its over 100 million users. Instead, it plans to invest in AI-generated content (AIGC) to boost productivity and profitability in 2023.
In 2022, the operating profit of iQiyi was 2.2 billion yuan (US$323 million), the first profitability of the whole year. The revenue reached 29.0 billion yuan, representing a 5 percent decrease from 2021.
The paid user base of the Netflix-like site was 120 million, with over 10 million net subscriber additions in the fourth quarter.
"The success was driven by our original blockbusters. Looking forward, we will continue to focus on our original content strategy to deliver high-quality growth," said Gong Yu, founder and chief executive of iQiyi.
Popular dramas like "Knockout (狂飙)" and "A Lifelong Journey (人世间)" have helped iQiyi secure a huge surge in membership registration.
On Monday, iQiyi restored high-definition mirroring rights for its members after earlier restrictions in 720P and 1080P definition, allowing one account to be valid for several devices.
Meanwhile, iQiyi will bet on AI-generated content for video production and distribution to improve its margins in the future. It has partnered with Baidu to adopt ChatGPT-like services in the future.