Live Video Asia – Opportunities for Brands in 2017

2016 was a watershed year for Live video.

Highlights include:

  • That Buzzfeed Facebook Live debut with the bursting watermelon back in April which peaked at 807,000 simultaneous views
  • Proving their mastery for producing content tailored for different platforms, Buzzfeed also partnered with NBC to drive 2.2bn views of the Rio Olympics on Snapchat made up of ‘live’ stories and their discover channel
  • In November, YouTube introduced 4k Live video
  • November also saw Instagram launch Live video within Instagram Stories
  • Twitter made a big play into broadcasting through deals with the like of the NFL and Wimbledon, then integrated live into Twitter using Periscope technology (and probably made Periscope redundant in the process).

The growth of LIVE in Asia

What is less well documented is that in 2016, a host of local Asian Live apps also blew up across the region. On the 22 December 2016:

  • LINE Live was no4 in the Japan AppStore (higher than any social platform including LINE’s parent messenger app which it integrates well with)
  • Bigo Live was in the PlayStore top 20 in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam and is in the 10-50m installs bracket on AppAnnie
  • Afreeca TV was in the top 5 ‘entertainment’ apps for most of 2016 in Korea
  • Ephemeral Korean Snapchat clone Snow, which whilst not quite being a Live video broadcast app, does have the sharing of live moments at its core and is now massive across Asia

The LIVE Experience

Having tried a few of these apps that were available in the UK or Singapore AppStore, the overall concept appears the same – loads of young people talking into their phones’ cameras. Some platforms like Afreeca are Niconico are more structured with videos clearly linked to different themes. ‘Meokbang’ (watching live streams of people eating dinner) has been popular for a couple of years now on Afreeca and is a good example of how local platforms cater for local interests. V Live from Naver is another, focusing on streams of K-pop stars.

Bigo Live is a Singaporean app that has real traction in SouthEast Asia. It has a smoother, simpler video first UX  that feels more similar to Snapchat, encouraging the user to get involved and start filming for themselves upon opening the app. It also had a lot of streams of young girls filming from their bedrooms… But does have a strict policy against naughty stuff!

In most of these apps there is live engagement between the audience and the streamer of the content in the form of comments, likes but also gifts that are purchased in-app by viewers and then given to the content creator as signs of appreciation.

An app that stands out is LINE Live; it is definitely more polished, featuring celebrities and scheduled programming exclusively for the platform such reality shows that resemble Big Brother. Whilst the full experience is a separate app, it integrates well with the LINE Messenger ecosystem meaning you receive messages on LINE when your favourite streams are starting.


Should brands get involved?

There are a couple of ways that brands could get involved with some of these platforms:

  1. Reach out to influencers to co-create content/endorse your brand. For platforms like LINE Live and V-Live that feature influencers that are (to some people at least) already known this will come with a degree of brand safety.
  2. Reach out to the platforms to see if your brands can sponsor ‘gifts.’ This is a big point of difference compared to Western apps whereby viewers make in-app purchases of gifts and reward streamers if they like the content (opposed to just likes and reactions). Streamers can then cash these rewards in, earning money for their efforts and having a brand as part of that celebratory experience with the right content, could potentially be an opportunity
  3. Advertise in those Live apps that also feature mobile advertising (such as Niconico) through an ad network that has access to their inventory

The most advanced market that offers a perspective on the potential of Live is China, where social and celebrity obsession has seen interactive shoppable influencer live broadcasts such as Maybelline who had 5m views and sold 10,000 lipsticks in 2 hours through integrating their T-Mall channel with their stream on Meipai.  Highlights of celebrity engagement were also shared via Maybelline’s WeChat account.

So is there an opportunity for marketers?

Many industry experts are saying that 2017 will see Live continue to scale. However, apart from certain exceptions (such as food delivery sponsorships, live fashion) for the majority of brands Live platforms won’t offer the scale or the right environment for brands.

Facebook will soon roll out 360 Live videos and Snow, Instagram Stories and Snapchat will surely increase opportunities for advertising in Asia in 2017. Although in most cases whilst the content may be recorded live, the majority of views follow over 24 hours and in bite size chunks. This fits much better with user behaviour and combines the benefit authenticity (as people get to see something as it actually happened) but where they want to, when they want to. 

The real opportunity for marketers in 2017 remains in co-created content with influencers active on these platforms that resonate with your audience, and native media placements that are customised to reflect users on platform consumption. The difference is in IG Stories, Facebook Live mid-rolls, Snapchat and Snow, the content will be short, vertical and viewable!

Photo credit – Asia Pacific Daily


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