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Wednesday, Mar 22, 2023

TVB hits the jackpot as Taobao Live debut generates strong sales on mainland

TVB hits the jackpot as Taobao Live debut generates strong sales on mainland

TVB generated 23.5 million yuan in sales in the first six hours of its first live-streaming show on Taobao Live.
Television Broadcasts (TVB) generated 23.5 million yuan (US$3.37 million) in sales in the first six hours of its first live-streaming show on Taobao Live, Alibaba Group Holding’s live-streaming platform, fanning hopes that the major Hong Kong broadcaster can open a new source of income.

TVB’s Hong Kong stock price surged 85 per cent on Wednesday. The company said in a WeChat post that its live-streaming debut on Tuesday evening attracted 3.2 million viewers in total. Its stock price has risen nearly 130 per cent this week due to the partnership with Taobao Live.

Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.

TVB announced its Taobao Live plans earlier this month, saying that it would invite its stars to the platform’s live-streaming room across at least 48 shows this year. Peng Ming Ye, president of TVB subsidiary TVBC, said the company hopes the move will help it “grab a cake in the huge live-streaming e-commerce industry in mainland China”.

While it remains to be seen just how much of a lift mainland live-streaming channels will help TVB in the long run, investors have warmed to the prospects of better brand recognition among mainland consumers. TVB made a net loss of HK$224 million in the first half of 2022, narrowing its loss by 21 per cent from the year before.

In its debut show on Taobao Live, TVB celebrities Moses Chan Ho and Sharon Chan Man-chi showcased local products in Hong Kong, such as canned abalone, in both Mandarin and Cantonese. At its peak, the show attracted 30,000 viewers.

“I’m both happy and sad. I’m happy that they [TVB] are taking live streaming seriously and can earn money, but sad that it seems the time when we binge-watched TVB shows has really passed,” said one user on China’s social media platform Xiaohongshu.

TVB is not the first company to see its share price jump on the back of live-streaming e-commerce efforts.

Koolearn Technology, which is 55.7 per cent owned by China’s biggest private tutoring group New Oriental Education & Technology, switched its business focus to live-streaming shopping after China cracked down on for-profit online education platforms in recent years.

The new venture involved bilingual live shopping sessions on its Douyin account known as Dongfang Zhenxuan, which went viral last year. Koolearn’s stock jumped more than sixfold between June 10 and June 16, 2022. Its share price was down 10 per cent at HK$36 in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

China’s economy has yet to recover from the pandemic and measures to contain Covid-19 outbreaks. In December, retail sales of social consumer goods in China were down 1.8 per cent year on year to about 4 trillion yuan, according to government data.

For the full year, those sales fell 0.2 per cent to about 44 trillion yuan. During the December quarter, Alibaba’s China e-commerce sales, which account for nearly 70 per cent of its total revenue, dropped 1 per cent to 170 billion yuan.

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