We already know that the new generation of media consumers are not only consuming through new and/or established platforms; they are also distributing content themselves. Content that they just by instinct know will engage people, or content they want but can’t find.
Today you have your bloggers, vloggers, YouTube channels for every hobby on the planet, Instagram photographers, Instagram models, Snapchat Kings & Queens, lifestyle influencer brands that started as bloggers, and everything else under the social media sun that we now are very familiar and accustomed to. The next social media celebrities from the new generation seem to come through a less filtered version though – Live Video.
In most parts of the world we are very familiar with live video apps and services such as Periscope and Facebook Live, if we are not creators ourselves we at least seem to be paying attention to the live streams (Facebook has seen a 700% growth in video views in the last 14 months).
I personally find it fascinating that I can watch live video streams from both unknown creators and CNN within the same app. And take part in a moment on the other side of the planet, whether it be breaking news, a beautiful sunrise or the Olympics.
Even though we are just starting to embrace live video one should always keep one eye open for what´s next in how we consume live video content, and how we can utilize this tool. And who knows better how to adapt tools and make them their own more than the people of China. Of course, Periscope and Facebook Live are banned in China (together with YouTube, Google, Vimeo, Soundcloud and a long list of other tech companies), so they have innovatively enough built their own live video apps.
Apps such as Ingkee, Momo and Douyu are now the top live video apps in China in terms of number of users and their degree of innovation. Momo was initially a dating app and Douyu a gaming platform, both have now switched their focus to live video as China sees a reality TV culture emerge within the live video space. The content in the live video streams on these different apps varies from “look at me having lunch” and “watch me doing absolutely nothing” (really), to “watch me do my make up” and making conversation with their audience – basically real life or “reality TV” through a mobile lens with no filters. The live video stars also out test driving cars and promote whatever endorsement deals they have going on. The audience can of course respond and engage not only with different emoticons, but also by buying the live video stars virtual gifts bought with real money that the receiver can then take out as hard cash (50/50 split with the app owner). The gifts can be anything from virtual flowers to virtual yachts, and even though we are not talking real life amounts for each item here it is still proven to be a healthy business in addition to endorsement deals.
“Wang Jianlin, founder of real estate colossus Dalian Wanda Group, streamed video of himself playing poker with associates on a private jet via an app backed by his son. More than 300,000 people watched, and many sent virtual gifts to China’s richest man”. Bloomberg.com
The live video sector in China is now growing at such a pace that it’s turning into a new economic sector of it’s own, which tech giants Tencent and Alibaba have also invested in. As much as “TV personality” and “blogger” now are considered careers, you can now also be a “live video star” in China.
I am very curios to see how live video will evolve the next few years. We can already follow professional news broadcasters on live video, but I would definitely like to see people involved in tourism, cooking, personal training, and real estate taking advantage of live video as soon as possible. Or why not live video Art?
Thanks to CNN.com, Bloomberg.com, WSJ.com and TheBeijinger.com for inspiration.