The rise of creator-first live streaming platforms in India
The internet has generated many opportunities for creative people to make money online. In this era, writers, musicians, filmmakers, and other content creators can all share their creative visions with an appreciative audience—this is how the creator economy is evolving.
Simply put, the creator economy is a large group of independent creators, curators, and community builders building independent, tech-enabled digital businesses with the help of software and finance tools that enable them to monetise their content. Affordability, accessibility, and ubiquity of creation tools have been the major factors for creators to supplement their income, and this trend surged when stay-at-home measures were put in place.
India is a land of more than 50 million content creators spread across global apps. The global creator market’s size too has seen a significant growth of over $104 billion.
The era of live streaming
For years, the creator economy has been taking many shapes. One of the newer niches of the creator economy is live streaming, which provides an ultimate way for talented people to express themselves to a broad audience. Platforms that come with integrated real-time gamification, driven by microtransactions-led gifting options, have successfully glued masses in a very short span of time. With a vision to democratise monetisation for every content creator, these platforms empower fans to chat live, connect, engage, and build communities with their favourite live streamers in their preferred languages.
Creating value for users and streamers
Live streaming is the real creator economy, with fans opening up to their favourite live streamers with their whole heart, trust, and confidence. It is worth noting that a huge number of female live streamers are now moving towards an aspirational lifestyle solely based on their earnings on the app. People primarily from Tier II and Tier III towns use the money earned for paying EMIs or the school fees of their children.
Role of content IPs in live streaming
Budding live streaming platforms have a strong focus on live entertainment and social gaming and are investing heavily on developing gamification-led engagement features to strengthen their leadership position and bring innovations to its users. Thus, they are building a one-stop-destination for content lovers who may get value created for them through the earning opportunities on the platform. Live streaming platforms have started launching content IPs as a step towards bringing more live entertainment for all users and getting them closer to their favourite entertainers.
Interestingly, live streaming platforms are making as much revenue as any Indian content app today, be it a short video app or any other app, without any ad revenue. This counters the myth that users may not spend to watch live content when recorded content is available for free on YouTube or shot video apps.
Tier I and Tier III towns in India view real-time interaction of live streaming as a mode to connect, share and exchange emotions, interact with and build communities in the rawest form, with their favourite content creators in real-time. Making purchases to give gifts is of high notional value to them and is not seen as paying for content.
Let’s take the example of Tencent’s most mainstream platform, Kuaishou, which was launched in 2011. It is particularly popular among older users outside China’s Tier I cities and outside mainland China. Kuaishou’s focus is on Chinese rural life and its non-conventional content is perhaps what makes it all the more popular.
Overcoming moderation as a challenge
While live streaming has its own fun and benefits, it comes with challenges too. Live streaming and content moderation are inseparable. While comprehensive community guidelines help companies maintain a safe environment for self-expression and creativity, content moderation is critical in making sure that those guidelines are enforced. Platforms need to be proactive and have the right mechanisms enabled to ensure that these areas are regularly strengthened for the trust and safety of both users and content.
While artificial intelligence and machine learning significantly help address the large volume of content that needs moderation, human intervention is still necessary. Multiple layers of content moderation must happen on the platform. They include tech-enabled moderation, manual moderation, and community moderation. The combination of these three ensures ‘clean content’ flow on the platform.
The way forward
In India, live streaming platforms are focusing on broadening the avenues of the app through which content creators can monetise live interactions with their fans on the platform. New monetisation streams will be launched for creators in the coming years. In order to create more value for all the creators and users, the apps will continue to innovate with categories such as social gaming, find new ways for content creators to monetise through consumer spending, and open up the platform for brands to leverage live streaming engagement.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)