The smartphone has revolutionised the way we communicate, and in China the younger generation has created a $5 billion (£3.7 billion) industry focused on personal live streaming.
Revenues for livestreaming platforms in China are set to more than double from 2015 to 2016, and could overtake the country's movie box office in size, according to a report from Credit Suisse.
The growth of mobile internet has played a huge role. The millennial generation spends a lot of time online on their smartphone – more than three hours a day – checking it around four times an hour.
According to Credit Suisse, demand for livestreaming "has been surging from young users who lack the alternatives and budget for entertainment, and supply chain and mass production of internet celebrities are also maturing."
"We believe the total market size of entertainment livestreaming industry is around $5 billion in 2017, not small compared with China's total movie box office size ($7 billion) and at ~50% of the size of China's mobile gaming market ($10 billion)," Credit Suisse analysts Zoe Zhao, Evan Zhou and Angela Zhou said in a note to clients.
Here is the chart:
Popular livestreaming hosts broadcast their lives, generating advertising and marketing revenue for themselves and the platform they use to reach their audience.
While most do not make very much, some make a decent living.
Here is another Credit Suisse chart:
Credit Suisse also cracked the attributes of a successful livestreaming host (emphasis ours):
"As most mobile-based video streaming is filmed using smart phones, the image of the host’s face occupies most of the mobile screen on a live streaming app.
"Therefore, good looks tend to matter much more than one's talent. Any quick glance of the current mobile live streaming platforms could easily give the audience a strong sense of the dominant features of female hosts: big eyes, fair skin, and tapered sharp face, partially as a result of influence from Korea, Japan’s manga, and China’s magical selfie-editing tools. Female hosts account for ~65% of total hosts."
While livestreaming is growing in popularity, it's still more hobby than career for most of those who use it to make money.
According to Credit Suisse, only 17% of the hosts last longer than two years and 70% of hosts make less than half of their monthly income from working as hosts.
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