There’s no dearth of mobile messaging and chat apps today. The competition among these apps is strong, and we’re seeing many new features as they compete with one another.
People are sharing text, emojis, stickers, photos, videos, audio notes; making live calls; streaming live video; shopping; and now – buying movie tickets from within the apps! The latest trend is visible in China, where the number of people buying movie tickets on smart phones doubled in 2014.
Investors are gravitating to this space: Beijing Weiying Technology, the technology company that manages WeChat’s movie ticket sales, just secured funding of $105 million. Investors include WeChat’s parent company Tencent and the ‘world’s largest cinema operator’ Wanda Group (which also owns U.S. chain AMC Theatres).
The entertainment explosion in China
WeChat delivers its ticketing service through the app WePiao, which is also available on Tencent’s messaging platform QQ. WePiao currently facilitates ticket sales at 3,500 cinemas across 500 cities in China. Given WeChat’s global reach of 500 million active users, it will be interesting to see if it expands the ticketing service to other countries.
WePiao is expanding beyond ticket sales, to offer merchandise and to help promote movies. David Lim, CEO of Beijing WeiyingTechnology, commented:
“We charge commissions to the cinemas. We also help with promotions, and we get paid by the movie companies. Plus we are also investing in movies,”
Alibaba Pictures has its eyes on the movie ticketing business too, and recently acquired cinema ticketing company Guangdong Yueke Software Engineering. The deal gives Alibaba Pictures access to movie studios, as well as data about movie-goer’s preferences.
This post is a part of our People’s Insights Monthly Brief for May, Tech Innovation – Friend or Foe?