Can Live Video Broadcasting Service Empower Chinese E-Commerce Platforms?
摘要： How successful can e-commerce platforms become in live video broadcasting area? Will broadcasters make more money if they live broadcast videos on these e-commerce platforms instead of live video broadcasting platforms such as Inke.com and YY.com?
“Were it not for live video broadcasting platforms, I would have been no different than any other netizen,” Min’en, a popular female broadcaster highly recommended by Mogujie.com, told us. As one of the first batch of beneficiaries of live-broadcasting e-commerce, she has not only risen to fame, but also earned a great deal at the same time.
E-commerce platforms have high expectations towards female broadcasters who are not only good-looking, but also good at promoting products, just like her. After rounds of fierce competition among platforms offering live video broadcasting service for games, entertainment shows, e-commerce platforms have all started to realize the potential of live video broadcasting service and try to seize the opportunity and get a slice of the cake.
As a matter of fact, e-commerce platforms have always been eager for more traffic. When Alibaba acquired Sina Weibo and Youku Tudou consecutively, we could already spot the strong desire of major e-commerce platforms such as Taobao and Tmall for traffic directed from content platforms. Today, when live video broadcasting service has risen to become an important way to gather popularity, Chinese e-commerce platforms such as Mogujie.com, Jumei.com and even Toabao, have all started to provide similar service to attract more traffic.
At present, Mogujie.com, Taobao and Jumei.com are the three dominant Chinese e-commerce platforms that have already been providing live video broadcasting service. While Mogujie.com and Jumei.com allow Internet celebrities to live broadcast videos about products, Taobao encourage shop owners to live broadcast videos about their products. Other major Chinese e-commerce platforms such as VIP.com and JD seem to have lagged behind and haven’t provided such service yet.
How successful can e-commerce platforms become in live video broadcasting area? Will broadcasters make more money if they live broadcast videos on these e-commerce platforms instead of live video broadcasting platforms such as Inke.com and YY.com?
Live broadcasting videos on e-commerce platforms: a new way to rise to fame
Min’en became a part-time model for Taobao shops in college. Consumers love her pictures because she is very sweet and expressive in front of cameras. Once when a Taobao shop owner used her photos to promote products, the sales volume of the shop skyrocketed to 500,000, and the sales volume of one dress even rose to 50,000. Yet, the shop only sold 100,000 products for the past three months. This case won her a very good reputation in the modeling circle.
So it’s natural for her to become a live video broadcaster for e-commerce platforms. Around half a month ago, Mogujie.com turned to her and asked if she could live broadcast videos on Mogujie and help sell clothes. Min’en readily accepted the idea, believing that she’s still not popular enough and this will help her become a true internet celebrity.
Min’en is a typical Beijing girl. She’s easy-going and loves smiling and talking with others, which gives her huge advantage to live broadcast videos. She’s never stilted in live videos, and she will do almost everything in these videos, from teaching fans to dress themselves, to eating instant noodles, using foul language and picking her toes, etc.
“That’s how I live. I hate to pretend to be someone I’m not. It would be so tiring,” she told us. She’s bold enough to show what she really is to her fans, which makes her very different among female broadcasters. She never treats being a celebrity too seriously, so she even once told her fans, laughingly, that loving to be drunby and talk big are two biggest advantages of her.
She stands out among female broadcasters soon. In addition, she is so sweet and talented in dressing up, which together help her win lots of fans who have similar taste over clothes and attitudes towards life. She was once one of the popular female broadcasters on Mogujie, and the view times of her live videos has already reached over 400,000, while her live videos were tagged as “Like” for over 700,000 times. There was once when a staggering 10,000 users added the clothes she recommended to their shopping carts.
Live video broadcasting platforms help her to transform herself from a part-time model to a popular broadcaster. She quite enjoys such change, yet becomes a lot busier every day. Besides taking photos for clothes and live broadcasting videos, she also has to learn to purchase and deliver products, and further improve her skills in terms of dressing herself and making up.
“We have to constantly improve ourselves so as to bring new things to our fans. Otherwise, fans would soon get bored. Competition can be very cruel,” she explained.
There are a lot more popular female broadcasters like Min’en in China, who have already gone beyond platforms providing solely live video broadcasting service to e-commerce platforms where they can not only win credits from fans but also sell products at the same time.
What drives major Chinese e-commerce platforms to provide live video broadcasting service?
To some degree, e-commerce platforms have to not only provide live video broadcasting service, but also act as managers for popular broadcasters.
If you have a closer look at the strategic plan of Mogujie.com, Taobao and Jumei.com, you might find that all of them focused much attention on female broadcasters. While Taobao launched its won “Celebrity Incubator”, Mogujie.com established an agent company to better help internet celebrities rise to fame and explored the potential of the “internet celebrity plus e-commerce” model.
Then, what’s the difference between live video model embraced by e-commerce platforms and Weibo picture promotion model adopted by internet celebrity Zhang Dayi and many other people? What’s the advantage of live video model? What drives all these three major Chinese e-commerce platforms to adopt such model at the same time?
Above all, live videos are one of the tools for e-commerce platforms to boost traffic and increase sales.
Live video is a great platform for broadcasters to interact with fans. Many broadcasters love trying different clothes, teaching fans how to dress up and what are the taboos when wearing dresses in front of cameras. So it’s natural that they shift from platforms providing solely live video broadcasting service to e-commerce platforms.
According to Mogujie.com, UV skyrocketed by 10 times the first day live video broadcasting service was launched on Mogujie.com, and the traffic of Xu Yunxi, an internet celebrity highly endorsed by Mogujie.com, doubled and the transaction volume increased by 67.3% that day.
Still, the effect differs as to what the live video is about. Generally speaking, live videos about making up are more popular than those about clothes, because fans get to learn lots of makeup skills after watching these videos.
Secondly, e-commerce platforms can make much more profit via live videos compared to pictures and texts. As long as they open new live video accounts, they can make considerable profit. As we can see from Mogujie’s example, although e-commerce platforms have to pay for larger bandwidth, they can easily recover the cost through gifts and red envelopes sent to broadcasters.
At present, Jumei.com and Mogujie.com only allow users to send gifts and red envelopes when watching live videos. There was once when a female broadcaster received over RMB 10,000 through red envelopes sent by her fans.
Generally, the broadcaster and the platform would split the money by a ratio of 4/6 or 3/7. Since Taobao was still testing its live video broadcasting service, the broadcaster will be able to receive all the money.
“Although the cost of bandwidth will become pretty high for e-commerce platforms providing live video broadcasting service, we can recover the cost simply through red envelops,” Hong Bo, a manager at Mogujie.com.
At the same time, broadcasters can also cooperate with some brands and get paid by promoting their products in live videos. Generally, they can receive a commission of 30% or 50% to the total revenue, and some popular broadcasters can even earn RMB 30,000 or 40,000 through this business every month.
Commission fee on some platforms are even higher. It is said that a popular female broadcaster called “Yeye” on Jumei.com, with over 61,000 fans in total, can earn RMB 30,000 each time she live broadcast videos and RMB 500,000 every year.
Which e-commerce platform will stand out?
There are mainly two types of cooperation models between broadcasters and e-commerce platforms: one is broadcaster plus platform model, the other is broadcaster plus agent company plus platform model. Although it sounds similar, there’s slight difference between these two models.
In addition, the agent company can be a subsidiary of the platform sometimes. For example, Min’en is a signed actor at an agent company established by Mogujie.com itself.
As a matter of fact, all the three e-commerce platforms have already launched such programs to nurture internet celebrities, but it remains to see which platform will stand out.
To sum up, maintaining popularity, managing the shop and the supply chain are the three major obstacles for popular female broadcasters. For example, if a broadcaster fails to find an appropriate contract factory to mass-manufacture clothes designed by herself, then she will not be able to deliver clothes to her fans in time, which could be quite annoying for them.
“While popular internet celebrities such as Zhang Dayi usually have an entire team to master the supply chain, broadcasters on Mogujie.com not only have to live broadcast videos, but also find steady supply chain, promote and send clothes, etc.,” an insider told us.
Things are a little different for broadcasters on Taobao. On the one hand, the button for live video broadcasting service is still not obvious on Taobao; on the other hand, the contents of live videos vary a great deal: from courses to teach how to fry steak and peel shrimps to courses to teach how to make up and dress oneself. In addition, a broadcaster usually promotes many products in her shops. Undoubtedly, live video broadcasting service is deeply integrated to Taobao shops.
In comparison, live videos on Jumei.com are quite different, because broadcasters on Jumei.com seem not to be quit eager to sell products. Instead, they focus more attention on interacting with users, just as broadcasters on Inke TV do. In addition, Jumei.com invited many students from art schools and even some lesser-known actresses to win over users.
When live video broadcasting service was launched, Yif, a popular Chinese magician, was invited to do close-up magic on Jumei.com. Jumei.com’s CEO Chen Ou and popular Chinese actor Jia Nailiang used Jumei.com to live broadcast the interview with BAZAAR magazine.
So, it seems that live video broadcasting service is merely a traffic-grabber for Jumei.com, and isn’t integrated to its e-commerce business.
If e-commerce platform Jumei.com can provide Inke TV-like live video broadcasting service, will Inke TV provide e-commerce business one day?
[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @Yulezibenlun, please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.]
Translated by Levin Feng (Senior Translator at PAGE TO PAGE), working for TMTpost.