ByteDance shifts attention to live broadcasting business with its new centralised platform

ByteDance is making moves to amp up revenues from its live broadcasting businesses

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ByteDance, considered the world’s most valuable startup, has set up a central platform to merge the technical and operational teams of its live broadcasting businesses on different apps, including Douyin, Watermelon Video, and Volcano Video.

TikTok, ByteDance’s app for markets outside of China is known as an app for sharing short, pre-recorded video, not live broadcasts, but looking at the developments at its parent company in China, live features might be on the horizon.

“Our starting point for this so-called live broadcasting central platform is to better serve video creators and to provide better supervision of content,” a ByteDance spokesperson told KrASIA in a written statement.

The company wants to better serve users with “diversified live-broadcasting content” by offering them more technologies and management tools for live content across its different apps. “Monetization is not our primary concern,” ByteDance said.

Zhang Yi, CEO and chief analyst of Guangzhou-based research firm iiMedia, told KrASIA that live broadcasting is still one of the most lucrative industries in China, although it is close to saturation. ByteDance’s new platform for live broadcasts may well have the added benefit of getting a larger share of that business.

Live broadcasting companies gain their revenue from viewers who tip broadcasters with “digital gifts”, and through tie-ups with influencer broadcasters who sell products via the platform.

Up until now, most of ByteDance’s revenue had come from advertising, but the firm has reportedly set its revenue target for this year at above RMB 100 billion (US$14.8 billion), more than double of the amount it earned last year. Ramping up revenue from live streaming may be necessary to hit that ambitious target.

Luna Lin contributed to this story

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