Tencent Music Entertainment, China’s leading online music conglomerate, increased revenues and profits in its 2019 financial year. That follows growth in the number of paying subscribers and their average spend with the company.
The New York Stock Exchange-listed group, which is poised to soon buy a chunk of Universal Music, said in in regulatory filing that revenue in its year to end December grew by 34% to RMB25.43 billion ($3.65 billion) and that operating profit increased by 127% to RMB4.62 billion ($664 million).
Net profit attributable to equity holders more than doubled to RMB3.98 billion ($572 million), though the company also uses another measure (non-IFRS) profit which increased by 18% to RMB 4.91 billion ($705 million).
While there was no significant change to its more than 600 million monthly average users, the number of paying subscribers to its music services grew by 48%, to 39 million. Average revenue per subscriber grew by 8%. Revenue from music subscriptions was RMB3.56 billion ($512 million), up from RMB2.50 billion in 2018.
The company said that growth came from “solidified content leadership” involving strategic partnerships with more local and international music labels. It expanded its content offering to include more short videos, long-form audio, music-centric variety shows, as well as original soundtracks for films, games, drama series and literature.
“Our strategic transition to pay-for-streaming service has started to pay off, contributing to paying ratio expansion for online music services to 6.2% in the fourth quarter of 2019, up significantly from 4.2% for the same quarter of 2018. As a further testament to the quality of our online music paying user growth, we recorded a 4.5% quarter-over-quarter ARPPU expansion, in addition to continuously improved user retention. Our unique capability in operating a fan-based economy also showed strong momentum in 2019, achieving high double-digit year-over-year growth in the number of users buying digital albums,” said CEO, Cussion Pang.
For 2020, Tencent Music expects to expand its services with live content, and more long-form music, and to benefit from a new partnership with China Literature, another Tencent portfolio operation. The company’s filing made no reference to the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on current business. Tencent Music is part of a consortium unveiled in December last year that has agreed to acquire a 10% equity stake in Universal Music. The deal has not yet closed.
The consortium also has the option to purchase an additional 10% equity stake in UMG. “Prior to the closing of the transaction, Tencent Music and UMG also intend to enter into a second agreement that grants Tencent Music an option to acquire a minority equity stake in UMG’s Greater China business,” Tencent Music said in its filing.
Tencent Music’s parent company, Hong Kong-listed Tencent is scheduled to announce its financial results on Wednesday.