×

Chinese Video Giant iQIYI Loses $1.3 Billion in 2018

Chinese video streaming firm iQIYI lost over $1.3 billion in 2018, as revenues and subscriber numbers ballooned. The deepening losses reflected ever higher spending on original content production.

Announcing its first full-year financials since a March IPO that launched it onto the NASDAQ, iQIYI said that it lost $1.3 billion (RMB9.1 billion) last compared with RMB3.7 billion in 2017. It lost $506 million (RMB3.5 billion) in the last three months alone. Revenues climbed by 52% year on year to $3.6 billion (RMB25.0 billion)

The company operates a hybrid model of free-to-use, ad-supported content and paid-for subscriptions. At the end of 2018, it had increased its total subscribing members to 87.4 million (98% of whom were paying subscribers) from 50.8 million a year earlier, for a gain of 72%.

“We are confident in generating growth across the board, led by membership services which has demonstrated continued momentum. We maintain our strategic focus on producing original premium content, and will continue to advance our technology innovation and nurture our ecosystem to fully leverage the tremendous IP value in our content,” said founder and CEO Tim Gong Yu.

“Membership business continued to be the main engine driving our growth… 2018 was also a transition year for us, as we devoted more resources towards producing original content which added pressure to our margins,” said Wang Xiaodong, chief financial officer of iQIYI. “We believe our investment in premium content will prove to be very rewarding and help better position the company for long-term growth.”

iQIYI’s parent company, China’s online search leader Baidu, also published its annual results on Friday. These showed revenues of $14.9 billion, up 28% from 2017, or 31% excluding the impact of announced divestures. Baidu’s net for 2018 were $4.01 billion (RMB 27.6 billion), increasing 51% from 2017. For the continuing businesses the profit figure was $4.89 billion(RMB 33.6 billion), up 52%.

The news announcement was made after the close of Thursday trading on the NASDAQ. Shares of iQIYI were little changed at $22.76 apiece. After hours they drifted down to $22.65. That compared with an IPO price of $18 per share. Baidu shares, also listed on the NASDAQ in ADR form, were up 3% on Thursday ahead of its results announcement, closing at $171.81.

More Biz

  • Singer-rapper Psy performs during the 70th

    YG Agency Boss Quits as K-Pop Scandals Expand

    Yang Hyun-suk last week resigned from his remaining positions at YG Entertainment. The talent agency he co-founded is deeply mired in a series of inter-linked scandals that stretch from drugs to prostitution. Problems started with the band Bigbang and its star Seungri, but now also encompass other YG artists. Hwang Bo-kyung was appointed as the [...]

  • NEW YORK, NY – JUNE, 24:

    LGBTQ Stars Honored at Variety’s Power of Pride Celebration

    New York City felt the full Power of Pride on Monday, as Variety celebrated its inaugural issue devoted to the annual recognition of LGBTQ people worldwide. At an intimate gathering at Mr. Purple, the rooftop bar at Hotel Indigo Lower East Side in Manhattan, Variety’s cover stars and luminaries gathered for cocktails and the unveiling [...]

  • Motown Seeks to Block 'O-Town' Trademark

    Motown Seeks to Block 'O-Town' Trademark

    UPDATED: The boy band O-Town briefly rose to fame in 2000, with a star turn on MTV’s reality series “Making the Band.” But the reformed group has just one obstacle to its efforts to trademark its name: Motown Recordings. The label’s parent company, Universal Music Group, is trying to block the band from registering “O-Town” [...]

  • Alyssa Milano

    Alyssa Milano Settles $10 Million Suit With Former Accountant

    Actress Alyssa Milano has settled a legal battle with her former accountant as the case was on the verge of going to trial. Milano and her husband, agent David Bugliari, filed suit in 2017, alleging that accountant Kenneth Hellie had forged her signature on checks, failed to pay overdue bills and taxes and allowed costs [...]

  • J Balvin ‘Amicably’ Parts Ways With

    J Balvin ‘Amicably’ Parts Ways With Longtime Manager Rebeca Leon

    J Balvin and his longtime manager Rebeca León have “amicably” parted ways, reps for the singer and León confirmed to Variety. The news was first reported by Billboard. León — who also oversees the careers of fast-rising Spanish singer Rosalia as well as Colombian superstar Juanes, with whom she founded Lionfish Entertainment — began managing Balvin early in his career [...]

  • Ann Sarnoff Headshot

    Warner Bros. Taps BBC Studios Americas Chief Ann Sarnoff as CEO (EXCLUSIVE)

    Warner Bros. has tapped BBC Studios Americas president Ann Sarnoff as its new CEO, a surprise pick that is sure to shake up the venerable studio. Sarnoff becomes the first woman to head Warner Bros. in its nearly 100-year history. She was under the radar during WarnerMedia’s search for a successor to lead the studio [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content