Alibaba Pictures Group, the film division of Jack Ma’s Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, reported a widely anticipated $139.2M net loss 2016. The company blamed the losses on higher marketing expenses put towards its online film ticket portal, Tao Piao Piao.
In a regulatory filing released on Thursday, APG posted a net loss of 958.6M yuan ($139.2M), compared to 466M yuan ($67.7M) last year. Calendar-year revenues were up 243% from $38.1M to $131M but consolidated losses doubled from $71M to $141M.
APG said that the increased marketing expenses at Tao Piao Piao was a key operating asset in the company’s internet-based promotion and distribution operations, with marketing costs for the ticketing service sitting at $159.5M.
The company’s production business was also hit with an increase in losses for the year, as certain titles fell below box-office expectations. Last year’s Chinese title Soul Mate, for example, earned just $24.2M in the territory. APG also released its own See You Tomorrow, which took $69.3M and additionally had stakes in Hollywood fare such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and Star Trek Beyond.
Last year, APG took a stake in Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment and this year it released A Dog’s Purpose from the partnership, which opened at number 1 in the Chinese box office this month.