Chinese entertainment giant Maoyan, the country’s leading online ticketing provider, has posted its interim financials for the first half of a pandemic-disrupted 2020, with the company swinging to a loss of RMB 430.7M ($62M), compared with a profit of RMB 257.4M ($37M) in the same period last year.
Revenue took a drastic tumble from RMB 1,984.6M ($285.9M) in the first half of 2019 to RMB203.1M ($29.3M) January-June this year, largely due to the closure of cinemas in the country from late January until July. Gross loss was RMB 20.6 ($3M), in contrast with gross profit of RMB 1,186.8 ($171M) last year. Expenses from sales and marketing decreased some 72% this year, slightly easing the burden of the revenue dip.
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The Chinese movie biz has been easing back to life in recent weeks, with the 4K restoration of Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone leading the way this weekend past by setting a new pandemic era single-day box office record on its way to a $13.6M weekend. The overall market was 65% up on the weekend before, helped by easing of capacity restrictions.
Commenting on today’s financials in a statement, Maoyan acknowledged the “heavy blow” dealt to the Chinese and global movie industries by the COVID-19 pandemic. It says it has “proactively taken innovative measures to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic, and made meaningful contribution to the revival of the movie industry”.
When cinemas closed in January, not long ahead of the crucial Chinese New Year holiday box office period, Maoyan processed refunds for five million tickets, equating to more than RMB 200 ($29M), it said.
During the pandemic, measures taken included helping cinemas sell their perishables by connecting them with delivery services, using its research department to publish reports on the business, and upgrading its service to allow for pandemic changes such as distancing.
Despite the downturn, the company says that “the Chinese movie industry has shown remarkable resilience” and that, with box office now growing steadily, there is “strong confidence” for recovery. It added that it plans to upgrade its content producing capabilities and expand its online business model moving forward.
“We firmly believe that the winter of COVID-19 pandemic will pass and that the spring of entertainment industry revival is sure to follow,” today’s statement affirmed.
Beyond its ticketing activities, Maoyan has expanded into investment and production, operates a box office reporting platform, and also runs a streaming platform with Tencent.
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