Losses doubled at Alibaba Pictures, the separately listed film division of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. They hit $284 million (RMB1.79 billion) in a 15 month financial year to end of March, compared to net losses of $154 million (RMB976 million) in the 12 month period to end of December 2016. Over the same periods revenue rose from $143 million (RMB904 million) to $523 million (RMB3.30 billion).

Management said that “the company continued to develop products and services that form the new infrastructure of the industry, as well as building the foundation of its entertainment industry ecosystem and making huge progress in its business development.”

The company now has three divisions: Internet-based promotion and distribution, which is dominated by its online ticketing business, and film distribution; content production, covering film and TV series; and integrated development, or merchandise sales.

The management report throws interesting light on the reshaping of the business of selling movie tickets. “In the second half of 2017, two major ticketing platforms, Maoyan and Yu Piao Er, were merged. The consolidated entity of Maoyan was eventually acquired by Enlight Media, and together with (Alibaba Pictures’) Tao Piao Piao, form a duopoly that commands a very large percentage of the entire market. In such competitive landscape, the (Alibaba) utilized pricing promotion to stimulate user activity and further strengthen its Tao Piao Piao brand in February 2018 during the Chinese New Year period.”

It says that gross merchandize volume increase by 80% compared with the previous period. And underlined its confidence in the strategy by increasing its equity holding in Tao Piao Piao from 88% to 97%.