A company called Next Entertainment is planning on monetizing live streaming. Based out of Taiwan the company just raised over $25 million dollars in an investment round to make live streaming commercially viable. Next Entertainment is working on developing applications that will use online marketing and paid virtual gifts to monetize live streaming and make it financially feasible.
The man behind Next Entertainment is Andy Zhong. Mr. Zhong previously founded FunPlus, which was a socially themed gaming company. He sold it to Zhongji, which is a Chinese holding company for almost a billion dollars back in 2014. Now ironically, his former company is investing in his latest venture called Next Entertainment. Another social live streaming company from China called Inke is also taking interest and pumping funds into the startup.
Inke is a company that can be said to be a source on inspiration behind the founding of Next Entertainment. It joins together users in a chat room setting and and lets them interact and broadcast alongside an up and coming or famous live online personality. The viewers of the live streamer can then purchase virtual gifts that they can “give” to the live streamer. Inke also allows users to practice before they go before a real audience.
Next Entertainment is building a similar business model and service to Inke’s. Except, that it is planning on taking it outside of China and monetizing it differently to suit the habits of the country it it launching in. The latest application of Next Entertainment is called MeMe and it is now out in the island nation of Taiwan. The way a person makes money on MeMe is by creating a personality, building up a following and then monetizing through their followers via advertisements and paid virtual gifts. Next Entertainment of course gets a cut.
MeMe contains two different settings. The streamers are those that will attempt to make money by showcasing their online personality live through video. Viewers are those who want to watch live personalities or streamers. Next Entertainment allows users to search for locally based streamers and interact with them. As a viewer you are basically paying the streamer directly with gifts or indirectly through advertisements. In the United States, Next Entertainment plans on launching a live streaming application that focuses on sports teams.