Chinese online video services of all kinds, from TV and movie streaming websites to user-created live streaming platforms, now offer a variety of interactive features.

These features are not new. Danmu, translated from Danmaku, is a real-time commenting function originated from Japan, and virtual ‘tipping’ live video streaming had been popular in South Korea long before it spread to China. Voluntary voting during a reality show had been conducted by Chinese television programs through either internet or, in earlier days, text message.

However, the combination of these capabilities has inspired new ways to engage audiences and produce online-only interactive content; for instance, real-time polling is used to decide encore songs during a live streamed concert. Some features, such as virtual gift sending and tipping, have become significant revenue sources.

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Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com