It was May, 20th, 2016, Beijing. Youbao, a female Chinese broadcaster, received the message “520” (the pronunciation of "520" is close to "I love you” in Chinese) when live broadcasting videos.
Live broadcasting used to be a hobby for the minority, yet it has been gaining popularity in China. When you open any live broadcasting video platform in China, you will see broadcasters doing all kinds of things: singing, having a barbecue, playing games, sleeping, playing music, dancing, doing crosstalk, etc. In addition, you would see broadcasters and the audience interact with each other by sending gifts, lighting the chat room through mobile screens.
Live video broadcasting platforms have already become a “vanity fair”, to some degree. It is said that female broadcasters could make several hundred thousand a month, and become famous overnight.
Two months ago, Youbao saw a friend of hers share a live video in her WeChat friends circle and found it interesting. Some of her friends convinced her, so she decided to have a try. However, after she became hit once, she couldn’t stop. Now, she would live broadcast videos almost anytime and anywhere. Wake up and do make-up, go out and wash her hair, see some friends, play games in cyber bars, watch TV at home, have lunch, walk in the street… As long as she stops, her fans would ask her why and push her to continue. Up till May, she’s already had over 120,000 fans on Inke TV, one of the major live video broadcasting platforms in China. On average, she has as many as 9,000 fans watching her live broadcast videos every day at the same time.
A typical day of her would look like this: wake up and wash her hair at the barber’s, see her friends, play LOL at the cyber bar, go home and watch TV and sleep. She won’t stop live broadcasting even when she was washing her hair. “I earned 300,000 yuan within two months through gifts my fans gave me,” Youbao is already over Level 100 on Inke TV, “when fans compete to give gifts to me, my level also rise. According to the rule, I can cash out 3,000 yuan every day at this level.” However, she never cashed out yet. “I never treat this stuff as a work, and never expect to make money through this since I can always turn to my family. I can also make quite some money through opening online stores on WeChat,” she said.
When she first started live broadcasting videos, she felt awkward facing the camera and be the only one talking. Yet, she gradually become accustomed to it after doing it twice. “The majority of my fans are female. I am a little bit casual or careless in people’s eyes, so girls will like me better,” she explained. She would often talk about cosmetics and money when communicating with female fans. With male ones, she would turn to games, or sing songs “Anything can become a topic here when I am live broadcasting videos,” she explained.
She also gains a lot of consumers by live broadcasting videos, so she would often answer questions about her products through live video broadcasting platforms. She had two WeChat accounts, one is personal, and the other is for business usage, mainly related to maintaining her online shop on WeChat. When live broadcasting videos about doing makeups, some fans would ask her opinions about cosmetics, and she would recommend them cosmetics she often uses. If fans want to buy her products, she would contact with relevant staff at the storage in Hangzhou and sell the product to them.
After washing her hair, the barber held her phone, so that she could show the new face to her fans.
She enjoys sharing these things. “It feels that I have company everywhere I go. They would communicate with me, go shopping with me and even pick clothes for me,” she said.
Sometimes, she could play games in the cyber bar all day. She loves playing LOL while broadcasting videos, which also helps her win a lot of male fans.
It was May, 20th, Sanlitun area, Beijing. Youbao was live broadcasting videos with another male broadcaster. She would also watch other broadcasters’ live videos and send them gifts if she found their way of talking interesting, or their songs fascinating. By sending gifts to each other, Youbao has made a lot of friends who are also broadcasters.
Besides answering questions, she would also give them gifts to thank them, or sing songs for them. “They love me when I sing ‘Little Girl’ to them. The majority of my fans are teenagers,” she said. She does have some really die-hard fans, but she thinks her fans have to refrain themselves from watching live videos for too much time. “Many young people are addicted to the internet, and some people might miss their work if they are too involved ” she said. She doesn’t think she couldn’t live without live videos, instead considers it as a dessert for life. “Live videos can add some fun to my life,” she explained. She also declined any offer to become a full-time professional broadcaster. "I don't want to sit before a computer and turn live video broadcasting into a work of mine," she said.
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Translated by Levin Feng (Senior Translator at PAGE TO PAGE), working for TMTpost.