Dealing with scandals, regulatory scrutiny and rising costs, China’s live streaming industry has reached a turning point
By Amanda Lee
The party could soon be over for China’s booming live streaming industry, which saw revenue triple last year, as the tens of millions of yuan a year paid out to top presenters becomes unsustainable amid a decline in online viewer numbers.
The industry has seen explosive growth in the last two years, with the number of platforms growing to more than 100, while revenue surged from just 7.4 billion yuan (US$1.1 billion) in 2015 to 20.8 billion yuan in 2016, according to iResearch, which also forecasts it will more than double to 43.2 billion yuan in 2017.
But there are signs that viewer interest is waning, which could affect investors’ appetites for the sector. Monthly active viewers of live streaming with an entertainment element have been in decline since December 2016, said iResearch. Viewers of live streaming content via mobile devices fell from the peak of 141 million in November to 107 million in March this year.