Ishban Yadav, a computer science and engineering graduate, has found a new way to monetize his content as an influencer on Bolo Indya. Nowadays, this creator on the short video sharing platform is getting paid to connect with his fans.
Four months back Bolo Indya did a soft launch of its Bolo-Live feature where content creators can connect with their followers during their live streaming session and earn gifts.
“This feature allows any content creator to live stream on the platform. While they are live streaming and interacting with their followers, the followers have the option where they can give gifts of different values to the creators starting as low as Rs 10 going up to Rs 1,000. These gifts translate into cash for content creators and this way creators can monetize their content,” Varun Saxena, Founder and CEO Bolo Indya, told Moneycontrol.
Yadav, who has tried the Bolo-Live feature, has earned close to Rs 50,000 in the last four months.
“Initially it was not that good as the feature was new to people. But after four to five live sessions, I got 5X viewership. Besides this, I earned around 10,000 worth of gifts for one session on an average from my followers/viewers who were watching me live,” said Yadav.
Yadav is not the only one who has been earning by doing live streaming sessions.
In fact, Saxena said that in the last four months creators have got close to two lakh gifts worth Rs 45 lakh.
“In December, close to 17,000 gifts were given. In January, we saw 41,000 gifts and in February we crossed one lakh gifts and we expect that by end of the month the number will go up to 1.2 lakh gifts.”
He added that Valentine’s Day turned out to be one of the most lucrative periods for the live streaming feature.
“On Valentine’s Day, we crossed 25,000 gifts out of which 75 percent were given to female creators and 22 percent to male creators. We saw three to four thousand gifts being given in one single session.”
And what Yadav and other creators have been doing for the last few months is now open to more creators as Bolo Indya has launched the live streaming feature which now can be used by all users on the platform, regardless of number of followers.
“For the soft launch, we had a criteria that users with more than 100,000 followers could use the live streaming feature. But now we have made it open to every creator,” said Saxena.
While making money through live sessions is new on a made-in-India platform, Chinese short video sharing apps like Snack Video did offer something similar in India earlier, before the ban on Chinese apps kicked in.
"This (live streaming) feature was there on Snack Video. They had launched it few months before getting banned. On Snack Video people were earning good amount of money especially in tier II, III markets," said Saxena.
For Bolo Indya also, Saxena expects good traction from tier III, IV markets for Bolo-Live.
TikTok, too, lets creators earn money through live streaming sessions. However, the platform had not introduced the feature in India before it was banned.
India permanently banned 59 Chinese apps in January this year.
While earning through live streaming sounds like an interesting opportunity, the question is why would followers pay?
Saxena said that for followers, it is a gamified live session as they get a chance to be in the same frame as the creator and this way followers also compete with each other. "Depending on their gifts they can get a chance to either get a one-on-one chat or they can get their name mentioned in a chat."
For example, an influencer can make his/her session engaging by offering to say the name of a follower or viewer in the comments section for a gift worth Rs 20, explained Saxena.
He further said that a lot of followers want to know the daily routine or lifestyle of the influencer especially those who come from humble backgrounds. “They (followers) want to know more about a creator who has made it big but came from similar background as theirs. Also, followers are interested in specific genres of content that influencers create.”
So, what kind of content one can find during live streaming sessions?
Yadav who has around 5.5 lakh followers on Bolo Indya did his live sessions usually around his day-to-day life. “From trying a new food outlet to talking about my experience on recent vacation, I keep my live sessions very casual and engaging.”
Even Saxena pointed out that live sessions where influencers are talking about their habits or daily routine saw more engagement.
But what’s in it for Bolo Indya?
One benefit is that the platform gets 30 percent in the form of fees whenever a gift is given to a creator.
The other advantage, Saxena pointed out, is that it helps content on the platform go viral.
“What this (Bolo-Live) also does is it brings down the cost of user acquisition. With creators being able to monetize content, they go on social media to talk about their upcoming live sessions,” Saxena added.
Bolo Indya, which currently has seven million monthly active users (MAUs) and 2.9 million daily active users (DAUs), has tough competition from other short video sharing platforms that have a larger user base.
According to reports, Josh has highest number of users with around 75 million MAUs and around 35 DAUs, Roposo has around 65 million MAUs and 15 million DAUs, MX Taka Tak has 55-60 million MAUs and 20-25 million DAUs.
Compared to the above mentioned video sharing platforms, it’s clear that Bolo Indya needs to acquire more users. And the platform is betting big on the live streaming feature.
“We are expecting good surge in next two to three months and expect to cross 20 million users by June end,” said Saxena.