We’re Expecting to Reach to More Than 90M Indians from Our App in FY 2019: Yuki He, CEO of LiveMe
LiveMe is a one-stop solution for entertainment- it has 5 categories- Live Entertainment, Live Bollywood, Live Laughter House, Live Music and Live Games of Gamers that helps people to find the content they like easily. It also runs Quizbiz show twice a day, live KBC that lets people win money by answering simple questions.
Ms. Yuki He, CEO, LiveMe and Senior Vice President at Cheetah Mobile
‘Live streaming’ as a format has been a growing favorite over the last few years. Users prefer live content and be updated about the events happening live. Other reasons for the popularity of these apps are live-chat, real-time experience and gaining followers. The revolution began with user-generated live content with Snapchat, followed by Facebook, Instagram introducing the live feature.
Cheetah mobile launched an app dedicated to live streaming- LiveMe in April 2016 which became extremely popular in US, UK, Canada and Australia. As the average mobile internet user in India spends almost 70 percent of the time on social media and entertainment apps, (according to report released by investment firm Omidyar Network) and India ranks second highest in the smartphone users (According to US-based media agency Zenith), it can be inferred that Live streaming apps have a broad market for the growth in India.
In an interaction with BW Disrupt, Ms. Yuki He, CEO of LiveMe and Senior Vice President at Cheetah Mobile spoke about her venture.
What was the problem you wanted to solve, or the opportunity you wanted to explore with LiveMe?
In the growing digital-era where users have become the content creators and news makers, millennial want to share their life and talent with the world through social media regularly, LiveMe was launched to provide a one-stop-solution for entertainment, news and gaining fans and earn a living through live streaming. LiveMe allows real-time video broadcasting amplified by an assortment of features such as interactive stickers, face-mapping technology and exchange of digital gifts such as unique emoticons. It allows users to share their favourite broadcasts or live events happening near them and to communicate with each other and social influencers ‘live.’
What is the primary focus of company as of now?
The primary focus of the company is to build good content and provide budding artists a platform to not only showcase their talent and reach masses but make a living out of it, through virtual presents that their fans gift them. These virtual gifts form an important part of the app’s monetization as well as gifting process, the app had processed USD 1 million in virtual gift payments to its streamers within 7 months of its inception.
Who are your target consumers – in terms of age, location etc? And what are the cities from where you get major traction in India?
The app is most popular among the age group 25-34 and receives 80% traction from tier-2 cities as people here have high dreams of becoming popular and earn a good living through LiveMe. Delhi, Surat, Mumbai, Bangalore, Jaipur, Hyderabad and Pune are tier-1 cities from where it receives traction (in order of the popularity respectively).
What are the other features of the app?
LiveMe is a one-stop solution for entertainment- it has 5 categories- Live Entertainment, Live Bollywood, Live Laughter House, Live Music and Live Games of Gamers that helps people to find the content they like easily. It also runs Quizbiz show twice a day, live KBC that lets people win money by answering simple questions. Recently, LiveMe has come up with an exclusive live streaming game app Fluxr for gamers that will help professional gamers to earn money by playing live games and other gamers to learn tricks and tips to reach another level. LiveMe is dedicated to provide a platform to young talent and help them earn money through live streaming.
What kind of live shows does LiveMe run?
LiveMe has studios in Delhi and Mumbai where they invite artists to perform and go live on LiveMe platform. Recently Legendary exponent Ustad Mame Khan was invited to perform where his fans could live comment him or call him. This kind of interaction is helpful as in other platforms communication is one directional but here fans can connect with their favourite celebrities in real-time and can comment or share their queries in real-time. It has five channels and runs shows accordingly like- Comedy Show and Nosy Aunty Show on Live Laughter House, The Anupama Show on Live Bollywood and Living Well on Live entertainment.
What was the idea behind coming up with QuizBiz.
Quizzes have always been extremely popular with Indians, who like nothing better than a good test of their grey matter while trying to answer interesting questions. The success of iconic shows such as KBC further underlines this idea, and QuizBiz has been modeled after such shows with questions across various categories such as Bollywood, trivia, general knowledge and sports, to name just a few. On LiveMe, participants can enjoy QuizBiz every day of the week and on weekends they can enjoy the quiz with special celebrity like Gaurav Gera and Sahil Khattar.
How LiveMe is helping people to make a living?
It has created a space for budding artists to promote their unique talent by uploading their videos and make a living. The app allows fans to send virtual gifts to their idols which could be easily redeemable via PayPal. Also, there are many users who are hired by LiveMe on the basis of their content and talent to host the live shows. These content creators are paid for their creativity. Some of the popular artists who are making a living through LiveMe are- Shruti Sharma, Rehaan Tamta, Nalin Swami and Devyani Dagaonkar.
How are you funded? Have you raised VC funding?
LiveMe raised $50 million from China-based tech company Bytedance in November 2017 and $60 million in May 2017.
Why the name LiveMe? What does it mean?
We chose the name ‘LiveMe’ as it was easy to remember and resonates with the brand. ‘LiveMe’ clearly defines the platform from where one can go ‘live’.
What is the biggest challenge you've faced? How did you overcome it?
Apps that are open for everyone to post and comment has a huge concern regarding content. Our biggest challenge is to filter the content. We focus on the sensitive issue of cyber-security and ensures the safety by using algorithms to screen profile names and photographs, and manual screening of content posted to the app. Our big team based out of Delhi monitors the content uploaded to our app and control quality of content on the app. We identify the sensitive Indian keywords in both English and Hindi that would block and report users posting unsavory content. We also ran a campaign on our social media, where our registered hosts are blocking the users using app for incorrect trading by creating their video.
Who do you consider your competition? How are you different from them?
Our competitors are Periscope, Bigo, Imo – liveme, Snaptube, Newsdog, Musically, and Dubsmash. We are offering an opportunity for talented artists to gain popularity and earning a living through LiveMe along with entertainment, live quiz- Quizbiz. Our major focus is to exploit the young talent and let millennial achieve their dreams through our help. We are also concentrating on building healthy and good quality content on our platform. Many brands are looking for advertising on our platform, but for now, we are concentrating our efforts on making the brand big for young talented India and content creation.
How many installs LiveMe has amassed till date overall and in India?
We recently celebrated two years of its operations in India and within the age group of 25-34 years; we have achieved unprecedented popularity, being downloaded 60mn in total and 13mn in India. Every day we get 50k users coming on our app.
What is your monetization model?
We follow a unique monetization model whereby fans can send virtual gifts (like lollipops, diyas, etc.) to their favourite content creators and creators can encash these virtual gifts in the real world. We witnessed a significant uptake, though the model has been introduced for the first time in India. LiveMe community members use their credit and debit cards to purchase the digital gifts and we take a little premium from these digital transactions.
How big is your team? How many offices do you have?
We have 300+ members on our team globally. Our office is present in 80 cities globally and 2 cities in India.
Which city are you based in?
We are based out of Hong Kong but have offices in India, USA, UK, Canada and Australia.
What are your targets for FY2019?
As our major customer base is on smart phones, we are expecting to reach to more than 90 million Indians from our app LiveMe in FY2019.
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