Momo hoping to make superstars out of its top live streamers

Social media turned live-streaming app’s ‘Momo Music Plan’ will see 12 individuals fast-tracked to becoming professional singers and performers

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 June, 2017, 7:12pm
UPDATED : Monday, 19 June, 2017, 7:12pm

Momo, the social media turned live-streaming app, is hoping to turn some of the thousands of amateur singers and dancers who use it, into real world stars, by linking them up with top producers, tailor made songs, training coaches and even help them hold their own concerts.

Broadcasters using the app often stream their performances from their own apartments, and those who like the performances can watch via smartphones and give virtual gifts, which can be changed into real money.

The app has announced it is spending more than 10 million yuan (US$1.47 million) on a programme to help turn quality live performers on its platform into tomorrow’s super stars.

The Nasdaq-listed Momo is joining hands with global music industry titan BMG and three Chinese local music companies to set up an incubator to help turn hopefuls into professionals, using its live-streaming platform.

“Entertainment has shifted from television-centered to smartphone-centered in China. The real-time interaction between broadcasters and followers on live streaming platforms gives Momo the edge in finding talent and creating tomorrow’s stars,” said Jia Wei, vice president of the Beijing-based company.

Under the “Momo Music Plan”, 12 individuals, chosen by more than 10 million Momo users, will be the first to get on the fast track to becoming professional singers and performers.

Under their partnership, BMG will help them create music albums that have the potential to be sold around the world.

China’s Taihe Music Group, Huay Brothers Music, Yue Hua Entertainment will provide professional training sessions and set up marketing and promotional plans for the chosen 12.

Started as a location-based social networking app in 2011, Momo has been evolving itself into a social entertainment platform by integrating live-streaming services and short videos into its app.

The company has been pushing further into the entertainment industry as live broadcasting continues to lure viewers, especially China’s millennials, away from television and even cinemas.

According to Momo, its top 10 live broadcasters made a total of 115 million yuan in 2016, all from virtual gifting from their fans – the equivalent of an average monthly salary of 757,000 yuan.

Momo’s net revenues have continued to grow, increasing 421 per cent year-on-year to US$265.2 million in the first quarter of 2017.

About 80 per cent of its income came from live video services, which were supported by 4.1 million paying users.

“The consolidation of the live-streaming industry, as well as the social demand of China’s more than 200 million single people, are expected to cement Momo’s leadership in the market,” said Sophie Huang of CMB International in a research note last week.

Credit Suisse puts the live-streaming market in China in 2017 at worth US$5 billion, almost the same size as the country’s total movie box office, which was worth US$5.8 billion last year.

Momo had 15 buy recommendations on its stock and one hold on Monday.

The consensus one-year target price for Momo’s stock provided by 15 analysts on Bloomberg is US$48.74 while Momo’s stock price was US$36.89 when market closed on Friday.