Nov. 21, 2014, 9:31 AM
- Chinese regulators have granted Youku (YOKU +2.5%) a license to provide mobile services as an MVNO. A reseller deal has been reached with #2 local carrier China Unicom (CHU +3.7%).
- Youku asserts becoming an MVNO will allow it to "add more customer behavioral data to its existing big data of users' content consumption behavior, and expand its reach beyond its current mix of customers as an online video service provider."
- Youku now gets over 60% of its video traffic from mobile. However, mobile's share of ad revenue is still only about half that figure.
- Youku and Unicom have joined many other Chinese companies in opening sharply higher.
Nov. 18, 2014, 1:32 PM
- While several Chinese Internet stocks are seeing selling pressure, Youku (NYSE:YOKU) .is easily the biggest decliner Volume (2.9M shares) has already topped a 3-month average of 2.49M.
- Yesterday afternoon, Reuters highlighted new government rules requiring regulators to approve foreign video content before it's aired, and restricting the ratio of foreign to domestic content on streaming sites to 30%.
- Marbridge Consulting's Mark Natkin: "The regulators say 'we can't permit this particular show', but in some cases the real reason is they want to protect and foster the growth of the domestic industry." Shortly after authorities required streaming sites to take down The Big Bang Theory (along with other U.S. shows) in May, state-owned CCTV began airing it.
- Reuters notes Youku has 1,451 TV seasons for U.S., U.K., and Korean shows, far above Sohu's 509 and Tencent's 471. On its Q3 CC (transcript), Youku said it plans to nearly double its spending on original content next year, and will also grow its content investments in other segments.
Nov. 18, 2014, 12:49 PM
Nov. 14, 2014, 3:44 PM
- With shares well below their early-2014 highs going into earnings, Youku (NYSE:YOKU) has shrugged off its light Q4 sales guidance and CFO resignation announcement. An HSBC downgrade to Underweight has also been brushed aside.
- Deutsche's Vivian Hao (Hold, $18 target) is still cautious: "Despite the encouraging subscription revenues (+473 percent YoY/+47 percent QoQ), we believe Youku is still struggling in mobile monetization with a stagnating ~30 percent of total revenues."
- Hao notes management is doubling its original content budget to RMB600M (11% of revenue) as it continues battling with Baidu/Sohu/Tencent, and forecasts R&D spend will rise to 8% of revenue next year (above Deutsche's 6.7% forecast). However, she's upping her 2015/2016 revenue estimates by 4% to "reflect the potential stronger ads growth from heavier content spending."
- Healthy traffic numbers could be giving Youku a lift: On the CC (transcript), CEO Cheung Koo Wing stated Youku had 500M+ monthly unique visitors in Q3, and 170M daily unique visitors. Daily video views rose by ~140M Q/Q to nearly 700M.
Nov. 13, 2014, 6:07 PM
- Youku (NYSE:YOKU) expects Q4 revenue of RMB1.15B-RMB1.22B ($187M-$199.3M); the midpoint is below an RMB1.21B consensus.
- The company also discloses CFO Ge Xu is resigning for "personal reasons." No word on who his successor will be.
- Q3 revenue of RMB1.1B ($180.3M) was slightly above an RMB1.1B consensus. Ad revenue +32% Y/Y to $160.5M; consumer revenue (subscription/pay-per-view) +473% to $6.8M.
- Content costs fell to 44% of revenue from 56% a year ago. Opex +42% Y/Y to $63.1M, exceeding revenue growth of 29%.
- Q3 results, PR
Nov. 13, 2014, 5:04 PM
Nov. 12, 2014, 5:35 PM
Nov. 12, 2014, 8:04 AM
- Xiaomi (now China's biggest smartphone vendor and #3 worldwide) and Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) are each investing $300M in Baidu's iQiyi video site, China Business Daily reports.
- Meanwhile, Xiaomi has announced it's taking a stake in major iQiyi rival Youku (NYSE:YOKU) by acquiring shares on the open market. Xiaomi will also license content from Youku, and the companies will "jointly invest in the production and distribution of online video content and movies."
- The news comes a week after Xiaomi announced it's investing $1B to expand its Web video content library. The company claims 85M active users for its MIUI Android UI (pre-installed on its phones). Baidu/iQyi recently announced it would have distribution rights to 1K+ U.S. movies next year.
- Baidu, Youku, SOHU, and Tencent have been battling fiercely in a Chinese Web video market that features no dominant YouTube-like player for user-generated/short-form content, nor any dominant Netflix-like player for TV shows and movies. The market has seen huge mobile video growth: Mobile made up over 60% of Youku's Q2 video views.
- YOKU +3.6% premarket.
Oct. 15, 2014, 2:28 PM
- On a day when the Nasdaq is down 1.8% and the S&P 2.2%, many Chinese Internet stocks are rallying. China's lowest CPI print in five years - it helped the Shanghai exchange rise 0.7% overnight - could be playing a role.
- Baidu (BIDU +1.1%), Sohu (SOHU +2.8%), Youku (YOKU +4.9%), Vipshop (VIPS +3%), and Weibo (WB +2.9%) are among the standouts. Others: CMGE +6.1%. MOBI +4.1%. NTES +3.5%. DANG +2.3%. SFUN +1.7%. CCIH +1.7%. BITA +1.5%.
- ETFs: KWEB, CQQQ, QQQC
Oct. 8, 2014, 2:10 PM
- Youku (YOKU +1.1%) has hired Terry Gu, once responsible for multiple Tencent services (including two related to its popular QQ IM platform), to be its chief product officer. More recently, Gu was in charge of online retailer JD.com's wireless business.
- The company has also hired Jerry Li, formerly a VP at telecom software firm AsiaInfo, to be an SVP in charge of business development and talent management.
- The hirings come as Youku remains an intense battle with Baidu, Tencent, and Sohu for Chinese Web/mobile video share.
Aug. 27, 2014, 12:16 PM
- Youku (YOKU +2.8%) CEO Victor Koo tells Bloomberg his company is working on a platform that will allow it to "recognize clothing, furniture and other products in a video, and deliver pop-up ads with links to buy the items on an Alibaba store." He compares the ads to the floating text ads that often appear in YouTube videos.
- Alibaba bought a 16.5% stake in Youku this spring. At the time, Koo promised the Chinese e-commerce giant will help Youku "build an immersive cultural entertainment platform that integrates online and offline entertainment." Alibaba, for its part, said the deal would "bring new products and services to Alibaba's customers."
- Youku sold off last week after missing Q2 estimates and issuing light Q3 guidance. The deferral of revenue from a mobile carrier (pending the renewal of a service agreement) played a role.
Aug. 20, 2014, 12:46 PM
Aug. 20, 2014, 9:11 AM
Aug. 19, 2014, 8:08 PM
- In addition to missing Q2 estimates, Youku (NYSE:YOKU) is guiding for Q3 revenue of RMB1.09B-RMB1.13B ($177.2M-$183.7M), below an RMB1.15B consensus.
- Youku says it was "still in the process" of renewing a service agreement with a major mobile carrier of the end of Q2, and thus opted to defer the recognition of ~RMB40M in revenue until the renewal is in place. That contributed to the Q2 miss, and also a slowdown in Y/Y revenue growth to 27% from Q1's 36%.
- Content costs rose to 42% of revenue from 38% a year ago; bandwidth costs were steady at 22%. Opex rose 20% Y/Y to $50.5M (33% of revenue).
- Youku now has 500M+ monthly users. Mobile has grown to account for over 30% of revenue. Subscription service revenue rose 379% Y/Y, but over 95% of revenue still comes from advertising.
- The company's cash balance totaled $1.6B at the end of Q2, or nearly half its current market cap.
- Q2 results, PR
Aug. 19, 2014, 6:07 PM
Aug. 19, 2014, 5:37 PM
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Youku Tudou Inc is an Internet television company in china. Its internet television platform enables consumers to search, view and share high-quality video content quickly and easily across multiple devices.
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