Shares of iQiyi (IQ 4.05%) continue to move higher. China's leading streaming video service (in terms of monthly active users and overall time spent on the platform) rose 13.5% last week, hitting another all-time high in the process. There was no substantial company-related news breaking during the week, though it did turn heads by introducing its first on-demand movie theater.
Momentum has been on iQiyi's side since it posted blowout financial results late last month. A win-win partnership with Chinese online retailer JD.com (JD 2.69%) also isn't hurting.
It's fair to say that iQiyi hitting a fresh all-time high isn't much of a feat. The dot-com darling has been public for less than three months. However, just hitting highs is a crowning achievement for a stock that spent its first few weeks of trading below its IPO price of $18. Investors have already tasted famine and feast with iQiyi, and we're just a few months into its publicly traded life.
Getting the big picture
iQiyi opening its first "Yuke" cinema is interesting, even if it won't necessarily move the needle. Customers can reserve luxuriously appointed screening rooms with seating for a half-dozen guests. They schedule iQiyi digital movie content that is then screened as if viewers were in an intimate movie theater. More theaters are in the works.
A multiplex consisting of several private screening rooms may seem like an odd move for iQiyi, but the migration offline isn't just about blowing up its content in real life. The company expects this to create opportunities in retail, and possibly beyond just the merchandise related to iQiyi content that it will sell at the cinemas.
There have been bigger game changers fueling the stock higher in recent weeks. The cross-promotional partnership that iQiyi announced with JD.com is already paying off with a million people signing up for the plan that allows premium members of iQiyi VIP or JD Plus to enjoy the benefits of the other offering.
The number of premium subscribers is growing quickly. We're now at 61 million at iQiyi, up from 50.8 million when the year began. Revenue rose 57% in this year's first quarter, accelerating from the 55% top-line surge it posted for all of 2017. Membership services continues to grow faster than ad revenue, a great sign for the platform's viability beyond the freeloading masses. Red ink is the only major setback, but investors have been kind to internet-based speedsters losing money if they can buy into the big picture. The market is getting the big picture at iQiyi these days, even if it means seeing that big picture at a posh screening room.