Live streaming platform Bigo Live has said it has launched an education channel, in an attempt to move away from the earlier focus on entertainment and other user-led activity that has attracted external criticism.
The app has over 100 million installs on Google Play Store. It is initially launching English and soft skill training classes through live streaming. The aim is to gradually expand to other subjects. The app ran an experimental project in tier-2 and tier-3 cities for a month; it said the response was ‘encouraging’. Bigo Live has hired around 70 teachers under the English programme and aims to raise the count to 200 by end-June. The teachers have been hired for three to six months and the deal could be extended, based on what users say.
The Singapore-headquartered firm also plans more of soft skill-based training classes in the near future, such as personality development, interview skills and etc. Bigo Live has come under criticism from citizen and internet groups for live streaming of obscenity, explicit content and so on. It has tried to address some of these through content moderation. The app has multi-guest live streams where viewers can join hosts and send virtual ‘gifts’ from as little as Rs 50 to a few thousands. The platform makes money this way.
“There is usually two sorts for monetisation. One is advertising, which is not our business model. There are in-app purchases. If I segregate my user base, it will be in two categories — content creator and content consumer. Whenever someone is creating that content, a person watching that content can send some virtual gifts or stickers,” Nagesh Banga, their deputy country manager, told Business Standard.
If, suppose, you send a virtual gift worth Rs 10, the creator gets lets say Rs 5 or 6; the remaining amount is what Bigo makes,” Nagesh Banga, their deputy country manager, told Business Standard.
Introducing educators on the platform is a first step to fixing some of the issues for which Bigo, hugely popular in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, has been criticised. As mentioned, the company invests in content moderation but a lot of the subjective content tends to thrive on the platform.
"Free live streaming education content on Bigo Live is an industry-first in India. The key to this endeavor is its two-way live engagement and instant feedback natural synergy. We at Bigo Live believe in growing an eco-system and bridging the gap between users from different backgrounds by paving opportunities in the field of education or entertainment," said Banga.
Bigo Live India has about 50 people looking at content localisation and operational business development, and broadcasters to get marketing support. Its two offices in Gurugram (Gurgaon) and Bengaluru have 500-600 people doing content moderation in 19 languages. The company will be expanding its teams this year.
Bigo Technology, which owns both Bigo Live and short video app Like, was bought by YY, one of China's top live streaming companies, in March this year. Bigo Live and Like have 78.7 million monthly active users around the world, the company said.