Alibaba acquires Irish start-up Showtime

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Alibaba’s movie division, Alibaba Pictures, has invested in Irish movie analytics Showtime. The firm offers data analytics to the film industry disturbers and cinema owners. The idea is that with information about performance, cinemas can make operational improvements.

And cinema is big business in China and may soon become the biggest movie going nation in the world. China has something like 7000 cinema screens and is said to be building approximately 27 new cinema screens per day this year.

Showtime CEO Richie Power says: “In recent years, video-on-demand has stolen a significant march on the cinema industry as the likes of Netflix knows 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.

Looking ahead to 2017, it seems fair to say that Alibaba will continue to be a broad-based ecommerce company with fingers in many pies. Rather like Amazon, it’s not afraid to expand into non-core areas that will benefit from disruption and drive profits.

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