China's Baidu Ups Investment in iQiyi Video Website
Like fellow Chinese Internet giants Alibaba and Tencent, Baidu is pushing big into film
China's Baidu, the massive search engine whose iQiyi video website unit is making a major push into the film business, reported a 52-percent increase in revenues in the third quarter, and said it was upping its investment in content.
Total revenues in the third quarter of 2014 were $2.203 billion, a 52 percent increase from the corresponding period in 2013.
The group said that it was investing more in iQiyi, a Netflix-like site that recently unveiled plans to make seven local films and one Hollywood film next year.
Content costs, which are mainly related to iQiyi, as a component of cost of revenues, were $81.2 million in the third quarter, 3.7 percent of total revenues, compared to 2.5 percent in the same quarter last year, and 3 percent in the previous quarter.
iQiyi has said it is stepping up its plans to stream movies from film fests to Chinese viewers, and plans to work with traditional film companies in order to raise film funding, conduct market research through "big data," deliver marketing and promotional support, as well as operate cinema ticketing services.
In September Baidu launched its own Kickstarter-style investment fund, Baifa Youxi, to help ordinary investors participate in the funding of big movie projects.
Yang Xianghua, vice president of iQiyi, said this month that China's online film market was growing at a furious rate and revenues should match theatrical box office within the next five years.
"We had another very strong quarter as we continued to leverage our tremendous assets, especially in mobile. This quarter, mobile traffic surpassed PC traffic and mobile revenue contributed 36 percent of our total revenue," said Robin Li, chairman and chief executive officer of Baidu.