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YouTube launches Mobile Live feature in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 February, 2017, 10:00pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 February, 2017, 11:02pm

Hong Kong YouTubers who are seeking to better interact with followers can now stream videos live directly from their smartphones to YouTube, while making money during the process, the video-streaming platform said on Tuesday.

The launch of YouTube’s Mobile Live feature – an extension of the desktop service – comes slightly less than a year after Facebook made its mobile live-streaming feature Facebook Live available to all its users. The live-streaming trend has pioneered a new way for celebrities and influencers to interact with their followers, and also allows regular users to share their experiences in real time with friends.

YouTube believes that “video is moving to become more immersive,” said YouTube’s product manager Kurt Wilmers. “It’s moving from having a one-way conversation to having a two-way conversation with you and your viewers.”

From Tuesday, YouTube creators with over 10,000 subscribers from over 20 countries and regions - Hong Kong included - will be able to stream video in real time from the YouTube app installed in their smartphones.

A new feature called Super Chat will also be introduced, allowing fans to pay for pinned messages that will appear at the top of the video stream without the messages getting buried in the flurry of comments on the video’s feed.

Prices range from US$1 to a maximum of US$500 for the pinned Super Chat messages. The US$500 price tag pins the message to the top of the live stream for up to 5 hours, YouTube said, adding that influencers can better respond to fans and followers with this feature.

The revenue from Super Chat messages received in the live stream is also shared with the YouTuber, the company said, although it did not reveal the exact revenue split.

The new features for Hong Kong users in the YouTube platform are expected to be well received, especially as the amount of time spent on watching videos in the city has grown over 60 per cent in the past year, according to YouTube’s statistics.

The number of video uploads to YouTube in Hong Kong has also grown over 65 per cent in the last year, the company said.

“Year on year, there are over four times the number of creators on YouTube live streaming every single day,” Wilmer said.

Popular Hong Kong YouTuber Jason ‘Big J’, has over 500,000 subscribers for his video channel on gaming and was one of the beta testers for the YouTube live stream function for Hong Kong.

“From a creator’s standpoint, we usually record the video, edit it and upload it to YouTube. But live-streaming is completely different, it has a lot more interactions with the audience and they love it,” he said, adding that his live streams attract between 2,000 to 3,000 viewers each time.

Having tried out the live-streaming feature on both Facebook and YouTube, he said he prefers YouTube as he has more followers on the video platform than on Facebook.