Dublin start-up Showtime secures €1.2m from Alibaba
Showtime to join Alibaba subsidiary in developing products for Chinese film industry
Showtime Analytics chief executive Richie Power and YuekeFinixx general manager Li Xiangxiong pictured at the funding announcement in Shenzhen, China. Photograph: Akai-Cas
The company provides products and services to cinema owners and film distributors that enable them to collate, analyse and visualise operational data in real time.
Alibaba Pictures, which is valued at $9.6 billion, is a film group whose activities range from production investment through to distribution and ticketing. The company serves more than 386 million active customers in China through its partner cinema chains.
The funding represents Alibaba Pictures’ second investment outside China and the first by its subsidiary, Yueke/Finixx, which provides software systems for movie theatres.
The new joint venture will see Showtime and Yueke/Finixx collaborate to develop products specific to the Chinese cinema industry, the second-largest market in the world with more than 7,000 screens.
“This investment only marks the beginning of Showtime’s global journey. Ultimately, our business is about more than just helping cinemas sell more tickets. Data analysis is in its infancy in the movie industry, but its potential value is huge,” said Mr Power.
“In recent years, video-on-demand has stolen a significant march on the cinema industry as the likes of Netflix know 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,” he added.
Largest movie market
By the end of 2016, China is expected to overtake the United States as the world’s largest movie market. The country is building approximately 27 new cinema screens per day.
Alibaba Pictures recently acquired a 30 per cent stake in The Mermaid financier Hehe Pictures and a minority stake in Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners. It has previously invested in a number of Hollywood blockbusters, including Star Trek Beyond and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.
Li Xiangxiong, general manager at Yueke/Finixx, said the partnership with Showtime opened up an exciting new frontier for the company.