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Marketers in China Embrace Live Streaming

Brands look to tap into surging viewership

April 11, 2017

China got a late start on live streaming, but consumers were quick to respond once platforms became widely available. Now marketers are moving to address the opportunity.

According to a December 2016 survey conducted by AdMaster, 37% of marketers and media agency professionals in China intend to invest in hosts of live streaming platforms as part of their content marketing strategy this year.

Types of Content Marketing Channels/Tactics in Which Marketers/Media Agency Professionals in China Are Likely to Invest, Dec 2016 (% of respondents)

Those investments are in response to rapid consumer adoption of live video. By the end of 2016, nearly half of all internet users in China had watched a live streaming video, the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) reported. The number of live streaming viewers in the country hit an estimated 344.0 million, amounting to 47.1% of internet users.

Live video is especially popular among younger users. According to December 2016 data from iResearch Consulting Group, 76.5% of mobile live streaming app users in China are under the age of 36.

Fashion brands, in particular, have shown an eagerness to use live streaming to project their brand personality and engage with viewers through exclusive and real-time content. During New York Fashion Week in September 2016, luxury fashion brand Coach live streamed Chinese celebrities Tang Yan and Li Yifeng’s visits to the Coach showroom, which attracted 3 million views and 7 million interactions, according to Jing Daily.

A recent study by L2 found that 69% of global beauty brands tracked by the research company have used a live streaming platform in China.

Alibaba has long been convinced of the potential of online influencers and live streaming to promote brands and sell products, and had moved to incorporate the two on its online shopping platforms: Taobao and Tmall. Alibaba recently organized a tour to Australia for seven of its top ecommerce influencers in China to promote local products and lifestyle, which was partially live streamed on Weibo and Youku Tudou.

Meanwhile, the National Basketball Association made Sina Weibo its official social media platform in China by signing a multiyear content partnership in March, which among other types of content will feature live streaming of events.

Weibo has been the most dramatic beneficiary of the surging adoption of live streaming. Interest in its video products has spurred sharp increases in usage and revenues. Weibo reported that its daily average video views passed 2 billion in Q4 2016.

Man-Chung Cheung

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