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Fan takes over Damai as Alibaba integrates ent businesses

China’s Alibaba Group has appointed Fan Luyuan, the president of its Alibaba Pictures film division, as president of the Damai event ticketing platform, as it seeks to better integrate its various music and entertainment properties.

The reshuffle – which also sees Yang Weidong, president of video platform Youku, become president of music streaming service Ali Music – forms part of a “push for a unified entertainment strategy and stronger synergies” between the three platforms, says the company.

Alibaba, the world’s largest retailer, turned over nearly US$40bn in the 2017–18 financial year. It acquired Damai, China’s largest seller of music, sports and theatre tickets, last March, and also has plans for an artist management company and booking agency, both largely tailored towards funnelling content to Youku (‘China’s YouTube’).

Alibaba kicks live plans into gear with Damai buy

Last September, Alibaba’s $7.2bn Digital Media & Entertainment Group announced the launch of a dedicated live entertainment division, to encompass ticketing, content creation and the live experience.

In a letter to employees, Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang says: “In the year and a half since Alibaba Digital Media & Entertainment Group was established, all of the business units have strengthened and made advancements in their respective fields. The digital media and entertainment matrix is on its way to fighting with stronger coordination.”

Zhang Yu, the former president of Alibaba Music and Damai, will move to a new, unspecified position within Alibaba Group.

Elsewhere in the ticketing space, Alibaba owns movie ticketing platform Tao Piao Piao, which has more than 290m users, or a roughly 44% marketshare. The company says it hopes to capitalise on the synergies between it and Damai to provide a one-stop shop for the consumption of entertainment.

 


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Alibaba ent. investment continues with new booking agency

Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba today announced the launch of a new talent agency, as it continues to invest in the global entertainment business.

Alibaba – which, with a market value of over US$475 billion, is believed to be the world’s largest retailer – also plans to form a “variety show production and distribution” company, according to a new filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Both companies, simply described as the “Variety Show JV” and the “Talent Agency JV”, are joint ventures between Alibaba Pictures and 1 Verge Information, both Alibaba subsidiaries.

The launch of the new businesses follows the announcement of an artist management company – also a JV between Alibaba Pictures and 1 Verge, which owns ‘China’s YouTube’, Youku – in March.

Alibaba to launch artist management operation

While the term “variety show” brings to mind live entertainment, the filing says the Variety Show JV will produce broadcasts which “provide information, reviews and commentaries about movies and drama series, with plenty of amusement”.

Equally, it seems likely the new booking agency will focus on film, although it is more generally described as being for “nurturing and managing entertainment talents”.

Alibaba has committed to investing more than $7.2bn in entertainment over the next three years, with part of that investment believed to be in the live industry. It last month acquired China’s leading music, sports and theatrical ticket agency, Damai.cn, following an earlier partnership that coincided with the rebranding of its own in-house ticketing platform, Tao Piao Piao.

 


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Alibaba kicks live plans into gear with Damai buy

Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba appears to be setting into motion its long-awaited expansion into live entertainment, today announcing the acquisition of China’s leading music, sports and theatrical ticket agency, Damai.cn.

On its page on Chinese social network Weibo, Alibaba says the buy-out, for an undisclosed sum, “continues an earnest three-year romance” with Damai.cn, in which it has had a minority interest since 2014.

Alibaba – whose Alibaba Pictures business last May announced a strategic partnership with Damai.cn, launching new ticketing operation Tao Piao Piao – adds in a statement the new acquisition “forms a strategic part of the value chain in our media and entertainment business”.

“Damai.cn will be a powerful platform to distribute our media content, as well as expand our user reach and engagement”

“Damai.cn will be a powerful platform to distribute our media content, as well as expand our user reach and engagement,” reads the announcement. “There will be extensive collaboration opportunities with our other entertainment assets, including Alibaba Music, Alibaba Pictures and [online video platform] Youku.”

Damai, which has sold tickets for more than 1.8 million events since its launch in 2007, has a marketshare of roughly 70% in China. It is not yet clear whether Alibaba will merge Damai.cn with Tao Piao Piao.

Jack Ma-led Alibaba, worth an estimated US$14bn, earlier this month announced the launch of an artist-management company as a joint venture between Alibaba Pictures and Youku.

 


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Alibaba to launch artist management operation

China’s Alibaba, the world’s largest retailer, is to launch an artist-management company as part of its ongoing investment into the global entertainment business.

A new Hong Kong Stock Exchange filing by Alibaba Pictures reveals it and fellow Alibaba brand Youku – a video-hosting site frequently dubbed ‘China’s YouTube’ – “propose to establish an artist-management to provide talents for both parties’ film and television and other relevant content production”.

Of particular interest to the live music industry is the “relevant content production” part, which could potentially tie in with Alibaba Pictures’ long-rumoured expansion into live entertainment.

It may also point to a move into managing the careers of young Youku vloggers, similar to Kilimanjaro’s Free Focus with YouTubers in the UK, although no further details are yet available.

Alibaba has committed to investing more than $7.2bn in entertainment over the next three years

The company’s ticketing operation,Tao Piao Piao – formerly Taobao Dianying (‘Tabao Movie’) – was rebranded last May with the launch of a strategic partnership with China’s leading live entertainment ticket agency, Damai.cn, through which Alibaba it is expected to move beyond film ticketing into live events.

The launch of the as-yet-unnamed management agency comes amid the signing of a wide-ranging strategic partnership between Alibaba Pictures and its controlling shareholder, the Alibaba Group proper, which establishes a “value-chain ecosystem for the cultural and entertainment industry, [in which both] parties will integrate their respective resources and jointly develop high-quality content projects on the basis of mutual benefit and reciprocity”.

Alibaba has committed to investing more than US$7.2 billion in entertainment over the next three years, although it has yet to provide specifics on investments.

 


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Alibaba swoops for TicketNew

Alibaba Pictures is reportedly in talks to acquire Indian event and film ticketer TicketNew, posing a challenge to BookMyShow’s hitherto dominance of India’s ticketing market.

Alibaba Pictures, owned by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, marked its entry into the live entertainment market last spring with the rebranding of its film-ticketing subsidiary, Taobao Dianying, to ‘Tao Piao Piao’ and the expansion of its focus to include live music and events.

According to an Indian business paper, it has now made a play for the parent company of TicketNew, Orben Technologies, based in Chennai (Madras), which sells tickets to cinemas and sports and entertainment venues across India.

It also has offices in the UK, the US and Spain.

“The discussions are at an advanced stage and a deal will close soon”

“The discussions are at an advanced stage and a deal will close soon,” Mint quotes a source as saying. The value of the transaction is reportedly likely to be around US$35 million for a 70–75% equity stake.

According to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2016, BookMyShow’s share of the Indian entertainment ticketing market currently stands at 85%–95%.

Alibaba Group, meanwhile, today posted a 54% increase in turnover in the third quarter of its financial year, to $7.67 billion.

Reuters reported in late December that Alibaba plans to invest more than $7.2 billion in entertainment over the next three years, although the company declined to provide specifics on investments.

 


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Tao Piao Piao exec held on bribery charges

The general manager of Tao Piao Piao, Alibaba’s film and event ticketing business, has been arrested for alleged corruption.

Kong Qi, also a vice-president of Alibaba Pictures, was detained by Chinese police in July on suspicion of taking up to CN‎¥10 million (US$1.5m) in bribes, according to Jiemian journalist Wang Fu Jiao.

Alibaba Pictures has confirmed Kong’s arrest but says the alleged corruption took place before he joined from sister company Alipay.

Through Tao Piao Piao, Alibaba Pictures, owned by $14bn ecommerce giant Alibaba, handles ticketing for more than 5,000 cinemas in China – 95% of the country’s total box office – according to Alibaba-backed news site Alizila.

Tao Piao Piao (roughly “hunting for tickets”) was formed in May by a rebranding of Taobao Dianying, Alibaba Pictures’ film-ticketing subsidiary, as part of a push into live music and entertainment.

 


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World’s largest etailer to launch live ticket biz

Alibaba Group, the world’s largest ecommerce company, is moving into concert ticket sales with the expansion of its US$2 billion Alibaba Pictures ticketing business.

Taobao Dianying, Alibaba Pictures’ film-ticketing subsidiary, has been rebranded ‘Tao Piao Piao’ (roughly “hunting for tickets”) and has partnered with China’s largest entertainment ticket seller, Damai.cn, to allow Damai customers to purchase tickets through its Tao Piao Piao and Alipay mobile apps.

The news comes on the back of Alibaba Pictures raising CN¥1.7 billion ($260 million) in series-A financing, which, according to a Hong Kong Stock Exchange filing on Sunday, values the company at over ¥13.7bn ($2.09bn).

In June 2015 it sold $1.57bn worth of shares to fund its expansion into new sectors (although investors were actually buying shares in a Caymanian shell corporation, as the PRC forbids foreign ownership of Chinese companies).

The entry of Alibaba into the concert ticketing market comes amid the launch of similar ventures by fellow tech giants Amazon, Facebook and Sky

Alibaba Pictures handles ticketing for more than 5,000 cinemas in China – 95% of the country’s total box office – according to Alibaba-backed news site Alizila, with daily ticket sales peaking at around three million on the best day, up a hundredfold (from 30,000) on just over a year ago.

The entry of Alibaba, which has a market capitalisation of over $196bn and offices in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the US, the UK and India, into the concert ticketing market comes amid the launch of similar ventures by fellow ecommerce giant Amazon, Rupert Murdoch-owned broadcaster Sky and social network Facebook (which has partnered with Ticketmaster and Eventbrite to allow tickets to be sold via its web and mobile platforms).

According to research company IBISWorld, the worldwide market for online ticketing for live events is worth over $4bn and experienced average annual growth of 3.4% from 2010 to 2015. Juniper Research estimates, meanwhile, that 23 billion live event and transport tickets will be sold globally using mobile apps by 2020.

Live Nation revealed in its financial results for the first quarter of 2016 that market leader Ticketmaster sold over 17 million tickets globally in February – its most-ever in a single month.