Alibaba Pictures, the film and entertainment arm of Alibaba Group, has invested in Irish movie data startup Showtime Analytics, through its cinema ticketing system subsidiary Yueke (aka Finixx). The tie-up will see Showtime and Finixx collaborate to develop products specific to the Chinese cinema industry, the company noted.
Founded in 2014, Showtime Analytics provides data analytics products and services to cinema owners and film distributors, allowing them to collate, analyze and visualize their operational data in real time to deliver insights that drive improved business performance. The Irish company now employs 30 full time staff.
Yueke is a leading cinema ticket software system service in China, where its Finixx system serves more than 2,000 theatres and more than 30 third online movie-ticketing platforms, include QQ Movie Ticket, WeChat Movie Ticket, Alipay, Mtime, Gewara and Maoyan. Alibaba Pictures fully acquired the company for 830 million RMB (around 120 million USD) in 2015.
Alibaba Pictures, valued at 9.6 billion USD, has been investing aggressively in building out assets across the film and television production, distribution, and ticketing line. The firm launched a $300 million USD investment fund this July, aiming for film and television production. Earlier this year Alibaba Pictures acquired a stake in Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners. Taobao Piao Piao, the ticketing subsidiary of Alibaba Pictures, raised this May a 1.7 billion RMB (260 million USD) series A, valuing the company at over 13.7 billion RMB.
“In recent years, video-on-demand has stolen a significant march on the cinema industry as the likes of Netflix knows more about its customers and they are using this to their advantage. We want to help cinema owners and film distributors to unlock the potential of their data and help them understand more about the types of films being made, how they’re being made and marketed, and how audiences are responding to them,” said Showtime CEO Richie Power.
Chinese moviegoers’ growing appetite for quality films is fostering a booming movie market. The country is expected to overtake the United States as the world’s largest movie market by the end of this year. The country has now approximately 7,000 cinema screens and is building approximately 27 new cinema screens per day in 2016.