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Baidus video site iQiyi adds 37M subscribers in 2018 amid mounting losses

Chinas Baidu, which is often compared to Alphabets Google, is showing no signs of slowing down its pace of betting on video content as its core advertising unit feels the squeeze from rivals. The companyslatest financial resultsshow its video streaming business iQiyi posted a net loss of 9.1 billion yuan or $1.3 billion in 2018, compared to just 3.74 billion yuan in 2017.
Not long ago, iQiyi announced raising$500 million in convertible notes to fuel its spending spree. The video site, which filed for a$1.5 billion U.S. IPOlast February, aspires to be the Disney of China with a Netflix-style production house and a plan to merchandise a library of intellectual property. Baidu also felt the heat as content costs from 2018 jumped 75percentto $3.42 billion mainly on account of iQiyi expenses.
The cash burn appears to be paying off. IQiyi added 36.6 million subscribers last year, bringing its total users to 87.4 million. 98.5 percentof them were paying, a promising ratio givenChinese users were long used to getting free content in a country with rampant online piracy. IQiyismost serious contender Tencent Video had 82 million users as of Q3.

Baidus video business iQiyi to raise up to $1.5B in US IPO
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