Two Chinese online movie ticketing platforms, Maoyan Movie and Weiying Technology, have merged under a strategic cooperation agreement to set up a new joint venture company, Maoyan Weiying. Under the agreement, Maoyan will inject all its business, including ticketing, film investments and distribution, into the new company, while Weiying will add its ticketing and other related services. After the merger, Weiying will have a 27.59% share in Maoyan Weiying. Other key shareholders are Shanghai Enlight Investment Holdings (30.96%), Beijing Enlight Media (19.83%), Meituan Dianping (8.46%), and Tencent (6.56%).
Chinese moviegoers have been lured into purchasing movie tickets online by lower prices during the past few years. Online ticket platforms offer discounted tickets compared to those bought at cinemas, and sometimes even below cost in order to win online users. The price war between a few key players largely stopped during 2016 and it is also one of the structural reasons leading to the box office slowdown in China last year. With the end of discounted online tickets, the market will enter a healthier competition environment.
The proportion of movie tickets sold online surged from 28.6% in 2013 to 75.1% in 2016, and 84.8% in Q2 2017, according to data from BigData-Research (BDR), a local research firm in China. There are four key players in the market (2016 market share data):
With the merger, Maoyan Weiying becomes the largest player in the market with nearly 50% of the market share. The new company’s largest competitor is Taopiaopiao. Even though Taopiaopiao only has 17.3% market share in online ticketing, it is actually the market leader in film marketing and distribution in H1 2017. In July 2017, Alibaba invested RMB 1.3 billion to increase its share in Taopiaopiao to 96.71%, which indicate Alibaba’s commitment to support and expand the online platform.