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Streaming Video Subscriptions Hit 43 Million at China’s Tencent

Streaming video boosted China’s games and social media giant Tencent in the three months to the end of September. Revealing figures for Tencent Video for the first time, the company claimed about 43 million video subscribers.

Tencent reported a 61% surge in group revenues to $9.81 billion (RMB65.2 billion) in the period, the third quarter of its financial year. Net profits increased by 67% to $2.71 billion (RMB18 billion), or 46% to $2.57 billion (RMB17.1 billion) on the more conservative non-GAAP basis.

“Our video platform gained audience and revenue market share. We believe it has become China’s top online video platform in terms of mobile daily active users and subscriptions,” said Tencent’s chairman and CEO Pony Ma Huateng. “We believe this success reflects our increasing investment in self-commissioned video content, our improved selection of licensed video content, and our scheduling and audience management initiatives.”

The company said that Tencent Video “has exceeded 43 million fee-based subscriptions” and repeated the claim that it is now China’s largest video platform. Netflix claims 109 million subscriptions worldwide.

However, even within China, comparisons are difficult. Tencent has not previously revealed video subscription numbers, so a growth rate cannot be calculated. Tencent Video’s biggest competitor, iQIYI, has previously claimed over 60 million paying users, though the bases for measurement may be different. Tencent did not disclose Tencent Video’s revenue contribution or its impact on earnings.

Nevertheless, it made made several bold statements for the unit. “We will continue to increase our investment in video content, especially self-commissioned video content, and to reinforce our content recommendation algorithms,” it said. It was also encouraged by this month’s successful flotation of its online bookstore, China Literature. “We believe our multi-faceted digital content businesses are synergistic with each other, and allow us to deliver unique content to our users,” the company said.

Its ecosystem, driven by massive social media presence, delivered “strong business and revenue growth across multiple business lines including games, digital content, online advertising and payment-related services.”

Its older QQ messaging service saw monthly users numbers drop by 4% to 843 million. But its newer, hyper-connected Weixin/WeChat platform gained 16% to 980 million users.

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