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1% of live streamers suck 80% of profits of the industry in China, survey says

The “80/20 rule” argues that for many events, 80% of effects come from 20% of the causes. Sometimes the 80/20 rule is adapted to describe situations where 20% of a population receives 80% of the income. When it comes to the current live streaming industry in China, the principle can be renamed to “the 80/1 rule”.

Income of the live streamers

According to an industry survey published on Wednesday from NetEase, 1% of live streamers now receive 80% of the total income of live streamers.

There is a wealth gap. While someone could earn RMB 10.68 million (USD 1.6 million) a week from the virtual gifts sent by fans, nearly half of the live streamers are “suffering” with a monthly income short of RMB 5,000.

Nevertheless, the average monthly income is reaching RMB 200,000 – at least, for the top 1,000 live streamers on popular live streaming apps such as Inke and Huajiao.

The live streamers: who are they and what is driving their lasting popularity?

Data from the survey shows that Beijing and Shanghai are the top two cities with the most live streamers, and 55% of all full-time live streamers are in first- or second-tier cities. 66% of them are born after the 1990s, and 64% of them are female.

However, being young with a pretty face does not ensure long-lasting popularity – the rule of thumb is to provide good content constantly.

What can guarantee good content? The answer is teams, rather than individuals. In the past, live streamers became successful for their talent, hard work, and lucky opportunities. Today, 60% of them are working with a supporting team or organization, and 36% of that 60% have signed contracts with brokerage firms.

Live streaming platforms and investments from BAT

Cheetah Mobile Lab published on Wednesday a report on the ranking of live streaming platforms in China. Aside from the over 200 live streaming startups, tech giants Tencent, Alibaba, and Baidu are also working to grab a bite.

Among the top 150 apps on Android in terms of weekly active users, 20 have live streaming functions. YY and Inke are the top two pure live streaming apps, but neither of them made it to the top 150 list.

The report concludes that live streaming is most developed in fields that include news, videos, e-commerce, and social platforms. In addition, sports, education, and real-time monitoring are believed to hold great potential.

Other than investing in live streaming app Longzhu, Tencent also led in mid-August the Series C RMB 1.5 billion financing of Douyu, which ranks 4th among pure live streaming apps. In addition to apps specialized in live streaming sports events, Tencent’s own live streaming product NOW is also performing well, ranking 12th in the category of pan-entertainment.

Though without investment in pure live streaming apps, Alibaba Cloud has started working on the integration of live streaming and e-commerce. Cheetah Mobile Lab predicts that, in the near future, Alibaba will integrate live streaming with virtual reality.

Last but not least, Baidu has introduced the ALa live streaming platform, which focuses on social networking with strangers, and allows viewers to look up the location of the live streamer on a map.

Live streaming platforms are fighting for good resources. Still, there are opportunities for talented live streamers. Will you give a shot?

(Top photo edited from Cheetah Mobile Lab)

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