Last week PPTV, or PPLive, launched PPBox, a set-top box and a series of apps. Back in 2011, the company had begun providing online video content to some set top boxes but was stopped by the SARFT (The State Administration of Radio Film and Television) for the licensing issue. Earlier last year, it reached partnership with Wasu Media Group, an authorized company by SARFT on internet TV business. Wasu will provide content and the integrated broadcasting control platform and PPTV will be responsible for operation and marketing.
PPBox was officially released with the price of RMB299, and will be available for pre-sale on May 18. The first batch of test-market cities includes Shanghai, Changsha and Hangzhou. When asked about LeTV’s launch of the SuperTV after a series of set-top boxes, Vincent Tao, CEO of PPTV, claimed that currently the company would not consider anything else but the role of content provider.
Before iQiyi’s acquisition of PPS, there was rumor that its direct competitor PPTV was looking for a buyer too. On May 9th, Tao responded by saying that “acquisition or IPO, either way is okay if we really need funding.” In 2011, PPTV won $250m investment from SoftBank, with the latter taking 35% in stake — it was valued at over $700m. That’s its latest financing round disclosed. Earlier this year, Tao said they were preparing for an IPO.
Tao revealed that its annual revenue of 2012 added up to RMB800m, and it broke even in the Q4. It is reported PPS made around RMB500m to RMB600m last year. However, unlike PPS who has already started profiting, PPTV’s situation of just breaking even faces challenges.