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Virtual gifting is not the only way to monetize live streaming: Video++ co-founder
Live video streaming is no doubt the new buzz in China. It’s interactive and real-time nature have contributed greatly to the surge, however, virtual gifting, a model that has become as lucrative as gaming, is the real booster that keeps the sustainable development of live-streaming and made it the top trends as it is in China now.
For Dong Huizhi, co-founder and COO of Video++, there’s so much potential in video live streaming right now; virtual gifting is far from being its only commercialization channel.
Dong made this proposition for his startup Video++, an in-video technologies company headquartered in Shanghai. Launched in 2014, Video++ provides an in-video operation system that currently serves 11,135 video platforms with 10.1 billion service requests per month, he introduced.
Supported by computer vision and AI technologies, Video++ leads in automated video content recognition, tracking, ads matching and creative interactive features.
“Our video structuralization technologies allow computers to identify the persons, objects and contextual relations between them, turning videos into a searchable database,” he said. “Based on the structuralized data, we apply big data and AI technologies to match objects and viewer behavior to updated product and e-commerce info, to give supporting information, or to add interactive and gamification features.”
As a smart video solution, Video++ has grown rapidly in past year thanks to the live streaming boom. On the other hand, Video++’s technologies are adding another layer to the services, helping live streaming platforms to gain a competitive edge in a heated battlefield.
Supported by Video++ online voting feature, hosts could determine their next moves by a real-time audience poll, whether to sing a song or do a dance. Dong introduced that the company has partnered with PandaTV for an online beauty pageant and have worked with Mangguo TV to support Super Girl, one of China’s most successful reality talent shows.
Internet celebrities who got their fame through live streaming platforms are making real cash by selling products in their Taobao shops. Their usual practice for promotion is to broadcast the names of their shops, hoping their fans would search it out on Taobao.
“As you can imagine, the conversion rate of this traditional means is quite low and a large proportion of potential customers were lost,” said Dong, “We are working on a new in-video shopping feature that can redirect shoppers to a homegrown e-commerce marketplace.”
In addition, Video++ helps clients to run interactive video ads to better engage with audiences, tailoring ads to better achieve specific advertising goals, such as product purchases.
The company has had a bumpy road since its establishment. In early 2015, Video++ got a lot of media exposure as a star project in video/AI sector. As the media coverage brought the company to spotlight, reporting shifted when Chinese online media were filled with (in Chinese) doubts about the company. He added that despite the negative press, Video++ is strong and expanding in the two years after the incident.
“We have expanded from less than 30 to more than 100 staff since then. A large proportion of the leading video platforms including LeTV, iQiyi, Mango TV, are cooperating with us,” he said. “The growth is achieved through word-of-mouth.”
The live streaming boom sure boosted Video++’s growth, but what if the craze ebbs? The current live steaming boom mainly centered around streaming the lives and performances of good-looking ladies or men, said Dong. This kind content would fade away, but live streaming as a new means of communication will survive and resurge in new verticals like education and finance.