Why live streaming so popular?

By Hsu, Yu-shan(許毓珊), Liu, Chia-yu(劉家瑜), Chan, Meng-hin(陳明憲), Chen, Ching-wen(陳靖文),Lam, Tsz-ching(林梓晴), Chuang, Li-cheng(莊立誠)

Live streaming Effects on Society

There are many kinds of live streaming (直播), including internet band program, ordinary person live show, game streamer(遊戲實況), electronic sports(電競賽事), and selling goods, etc. Each type has its own special structure and incentives to audiences. Why is live streaming so popular now?

There are multiple live streaming choices on the internet. Photo/ Provided by PikoLive

Anchors interact with their audiences in several ways: through chat room, holding irregularly lottery prizes activities, taking audience requests for songs, opening second channels of communication between anchors and audiences (like Line or other social media), fans meeting, call-in and playing online game together. In order to attract and keep audiences, anchors of ordinary people live shows are focusing on personal talent and appearance. Some anchors already have basic fans in one of the fields. Game streamers are focusing on players’ great skills and reactions. However, there are no absolutely effective ways to gain and keep fans. Rather than copying others, it would be better to create one’s own irreplaceable strengths, like personal features.

Live streaming brings instant fame to many girls. Photo/ Provided by PikoLive

Asked if business operators are worried about the challenges created by live streaming , Luo Hao Feng(羅皓丰), founder of PikoLive(皮克直播)said they are not very worried because various businesses still do not and are trying to combine their own industry with live streaming. As there are more and more new ways of live streaming, it is promising actually.

Luo Hao-feng(羅皓丰) says live streaming is a promising industry. ∕ Provided by PikoLive(皮克直播)

From PikoLive’s newest investigation data, people aged between 18 to 24 account for 56.88% of live streaming activities, those aged from 25 to 34 account for 38.05%, and those in the 35-44 age group, 3.30% only. Males account for a whopping 95.59% whereas females represent 4.41% in the live streaming industry. The statistics prove what Wang Chih-chien (汪志堅), director of E-Business Center(電子商務研究中心)and professor at the Graduate Institute of Information Management of National Taipei University has observed that people have more leisure time as the social structure changes, and people are getting higher education, even at graduate level. People are seeking more exciting and interesting ways of amusement. Because of more mature and cheaper internet environment, live streaming has become one of the most popular ways, especially to teenagers. Adolescents tend to pursue good-looking stars and the opposite sex. Some of them who spend much more time online than average are called otaku(宅男).

Host and guest are chatting during a live streaming session. Photo/ Provided by PikoLive

Another live streaming feature is letting the users feel like being in a virtual situation. Take goods-selling for example. Anchors often demonstrate how to use products to audiences. People will be influenced by other users because of the sense of obedient to the public (從眾性). The next step of forming fixed audiences is to induce the audiences to keep using it. But live streaming still do not have any legal restrictions on violence and drugs content. The only way currently is to enhance public figures’ sense of social responsibility on the internet.

 

Users fund the hosts with virtual currency

Live streaming(直播)has become a trend and a platform for people to spend and make money. A fortuneteller Kayo-Kimo (凱佑•秦沐) joined UP live four months ago. Since then, he has accumulated over 1 million followers and has earned over NT$60,000 per month.

Kayo ranks first on the list of popular live-streaming hosts. Photo/ Provided by Kayo-Kimo (凱佑•秦沐)

 

Kayo said, “I didn’t expect that much. I first tried the live streaming function on Youtube and then the company (UP live) came to invite me to be a host on the forum. And surprisingly I got a really good outcome. ” He said that live streaming acts as a virtual channel to the consumers. As UP live is a public forum, people tend to look for his shop concerning private issues. As such, not only is he successful in UP live, but also in his hosting career.

Live streaming application enables users to be a member of audience as well as a host. The popular form of live streaming is young ladies casually talking, singing and dancing in front of personal computers or smartphones. The critical point lies in the fact that audience can give out virtual coins to the hosts that they like. And of course the audience need to pay genuine money for the virtual currency, and what the hosts receive can be real money in a sum of commission contributed to the company. Kayo has once received NT$80,000 in one day. User Chen(陳先生)said that the system is designed to be so convenient that users don’t need to go to the convenience store to buy virtual currency –  they just need to pay directly via WeChat pay or credit card, which helps the audience to spend on virtual currency.

The chart demonstrates how the live streaming works to earn money. Photo/ Chan, Meng-hin(陳明憲)

 

Kayo receives virtual gifts from the audience on the live streaming application. Photo/ Provided by Kayo-Kimo (凱佑•秦沐)

Kayo believes that the crucial point for his success is that he is unique – users can’t find another host who offers Thai-style fortunetelling service through live streaming. He complained that it is unfair as females can easily get much attention when wearing sexy clothes but do nothing while males need to demonstrate real talents if they want to catch attention.

It is common to find ladies wearing sexy clothes as a host on live streaming application. Photo/ Chan, Meng-hin(陳明憲)

Kayo is comparatively different from the other hosts as fortunetelling is a talent and a constantly, regularly live show. That is why he can keep a regular base of viewers. He divides his live broadcasting into three parts: commenting on the overall luck of every horoscope, answering questions and giving suggestions to the first ten audience members. The first ten are chosen on the order of giving virtual money, but he hasn’t set a basic amount of it, which means even if users give a small amount of money, once they are in the top ten, they have the opportunity to ask questions.

Kayo offers fortunetelling services via live streaming. Photo/ Provided by Kayo-Kimo (凱佑•秦沐)

“Everyone will be famous for 15 minutes,” said Andy Warhol (安迪·沃荷). Live streaming application is undeniably offering a platform for ordinary people to perform and get famous. Simultaneously it also offers opportunities to businesses. However, if all hosts are just wearing sexy clothes and persuade the audiences to give money to them, it’s certainly not a good phenomenon and does not help to improve  society and the world. Therefore, monitoring the quality and content of live streaming is also a vital part of the new trend.

 

A Chat with Live Streamer

ChenHao (stage name宸浩) spends almost 2-3 hours live broadcasting on the internet every night. When the name of a new member of audience appears on his monitor, he expresses appreciation through his mic to get the attention of his audience.

ChenHao(staged name),  loves to share some storys while he is now studying in Taiwan.Photo/Lam Tsz-ching(林梓晴)

ChenHao, a live streamer in Taiwan, loves to share some topics and have online chatting on his channel. As he has been invited to TV show in mainland China, his channel is followed by the audience in both Taiwan and mainland China. At the same time, he has signed contracts with the management company. Based on the popularity data on the internet, he is followed by nearly 80,000 fans.

ChenHao has been invited to the TV variety show ZongYiDaReMens(綜藝大熱門)Photo/ChenHao provided

Langlive app (浪直播) is his main streaming platform. ChenHao says that girls from the age of 14 to 22 are his target audience. He got unforgettable experience on his channel. “At the mainland streaming platform, I would like to sing the songs that the audience required. When the streaming contract was coming to an end, there are many followers who keep expressing their sadness over the upcoming loss of my streaming, sharing the story while they were watching the channel, and even sending the online points to me.” ChenHao remembered that he had cried all through the night while live streaming because it was a touching moment of his streaming career. He thought everyone was busy with their own lives.

ChenHao gets lots of presents from his followers.Photo/ChenHao provided

When it comes to the difference of live streaming between Taiwan and mainland China, ChenHao says that Taiwanese followers are interested in the entertainment and the content of his speech, but the mainlanders pay more attention to the appearance or special ability of the streamer. Even live streaming the process of sleeping gets followed on mainland streaming platform.

Streamer keeps chatting with followers and playing video games while live-streaming. Photo/Lam Tsz-ching(林梓晴)

On the streaming contract, ChenHao was required to stream at least 15 days a month, 1 hour a day. If the time of live-streaming was more than the contract, that would count as his bonus income. In Taiwan, streaming management companies will limit the broadcast content. They watched the performance of the channel to decide whether they deduct the wages or call off the streaming contract.

Shiryouko Studio is one of the famous outdoor live-streaming in Taipei.Photo/Lam Tsz-ching(林梓晴)

ChenHao believes that the market of live-streaming has been saturated. Live-streaming has to be done with other different features. Otherwise it would be substituted.