iQiyi (NASDAQ: IQ) reported a narrower loss in the fourth quarter of 2019 helped by a 7% rise in the top line. The bottom line was narrower than the analysts’ expectations while the top line exceeded consensus estimates.
Net loss was RMB2.5 billion ($358.2 million) compared to a loss of RMB3.5 billion last year. Loss per American Depository Share (ADS) was RMB3.43 ($0.49) compared to a loss of RMB4.83 per ADS last year.
Total revenues grew by 7% year-over-year to RMB7.5 billion ($1.1 billion). Analysts had expected a loss of RMB4.46 per share on revenue of RMB7.13 billion for the fourth quarter.
The number of total subscribing members grew by 22% year-over-year to 106.9 million as of December 31, 2019, of which 98.9% were paid subscribers.
Looking ahead into the first quarter of 2021, the company expects total net revenue in the range of RMB7.10-7.52 billion ($1.02-1.08 billion). This represents a 2-8% increase from the same period in 2019. This forecast reflects iQiyi’s current and preliminary view. The consensus estimates revenue of RMB7.04 billion.
During the fourth quarter, membership services revenue grew 21% year-over-year to RMB3.9 billion ($554.6 million) as premium content and various operational initiatives drove subscribers higher.
Online advertising services revenue fell 15% year-over-year to RMB1.9 billion ($270.5 million). This was primarily due to the challenging macroeconomic environment in China.
Content distribution revenue jumped by 68% to RMB878 million ($126.1 million) backed by higher volume and increased contractual price of the titles. However, other revenues dropped by 21% primarily due to the soft performance of certain business lines, partially offset by strong game business growth.
As of December 31, 2019, the company had cash, cash equivalents, restricted cash and short-term investments of RMB11.5 billion ($1.7 billion).
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