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German media company ProSiebenSat.1 has teamed with Japanese messaging app provider Line Corp. to bring its mobile live streaming platform, Line Live, to Germany—and possibly elsewhere in Europe.
Launched in December 2015 in Japan, the Line Live app has more than 24 million monthly active users (MAUs) in its home country, according to ProSiebenSat.1’s announcement. That’s a far cry from Line’s core messenger service, which the company claims has more than 200 million MAUs.
Line Live’s expansion to Europe could help counteract slowing growth for Line’s flagship app. Earlier this year Line reported that its global MAU total—a figure made up largely of users in Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan and Thailand—had slipped below 220 million in Q4 2016. According to company figures cited by Tech in Asia, the Line app’s user base dipped even further to 214 million in the first three months of 2017.
“We believe this partnership will help us connect with new users in Europe and hope it can be a meaningful beginning of our long-term commitment to growing in the region,” said Eunjung Lee, senior vice president of business development at Line Plus Corp., a subsidiary of Line Corp.
There are few obvious signs that mobile messaging app users in Germany will take to the Line Live concept. A survey conducted by TNS Infratest MediaResearch for die medienanstalten in June 2016 found that only about one-quarter of respondents viewed live streaming video at least once a month, with usage highest—at more than 50%—among those ages 14 to 19.
It’s that younger audience that’s most interesting to ProSiebenSat.1, according to Christian Dankl, chairman of the management board at ProSiebenSat.1 Digital. “We are building on [Line Live’s success in Asia] and bringing it to Germany to begin with, because we believe in the market for user-generated live streaming and its wide reach among the young target group,” he said.
It’s likely much of the live streamed video viewed in Germany has been commercial content, not user-generated content from nonprofessionals often found on Line Live, Facebook Live, YouTube Live or Periscope. A November 2016 study by UM of social media users in Germany found that Periscope—the only pure live streaming service on a list of leading social media platforms examined—was used daily by only 3.3% of respondents.
More than a third of Germany’s population—approximately 29 million people—will use a mobile phone messaging app at least one per month this year, eMarketer predicts. The challenge for messaging platforms will be to get their users to adopt live streaming on their phones.
To help spur uptake, ProSiebenSat.1 and Line have launched an influencer marketing campaign for Line Live’s German launch. Around 70 popular influencers will ask their followers to connect with them on the service.
According to ProSiebenSat.1, plans to expand its Line Live partnership to elsewhere in Europe are “currently being developed.”
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