These days, it’s all about expressing yourself. There is a hunger among people to share their daily lives, & showcase their talent Online before total strangers who may live on other continents. So imagine the thrill of performing to a ‘live’ audience at the click of a button, getting you instant feedback, getting more fans, & buying you ‘bars’? Livestream video chat cum social network YouNow is reported to be fast gaining speed as the hangout of the savvy livestreaming generation, allowing performers & audiences to connect virtually with each other in real time.
Your performance/activity may not just be music-related, you need not even be or belong to any professional TV outfit or broadcaster or whatever; it could also include activities like sleeping. Yes, falling asleep & letting other people watch you while sleep, is also a “performance” here. Worldwide, teenagers have started logging into 1 of the biggest platforms of self-expression there is these days, which is YouNow. You sign up, & then are offered a variety of chat rooms – ranging from ‘#girls’, ‘#boys’, ‘#bored’, ‘#ask questions’, to ‘#sleepingsquad’, ‘#humor’ & ‘#truthordare’.
New York, US-based founder of the 4-year-old YouNow Adi Sideman just received funding for US $15 million from investors Venrock, Oren Zeev & Comcast Ventures. In a recent interview to Business Insider, India, Sideman noted that 70% of YouNow users were 24 & below, & the platform already had 100 million user sessions a month. He said, “It’s a global platform for self-expression. It’s like YouTube, but live. The secret sauce is that it’s all about the audience. And the audience feels like even though it’s a one-to-many, it feels like a one-to-one interaction.”
So clearly, livestreaming video footage via your desktop & mobile phones is here to stay. On YouNow, there are 2 main elements – a window where you livestream yourself, & another where your fans can start chatting with you. Members can see how long the person has been streaming, & how many people are watching at that very moment. Bit voyeuristic, that. The app has an advice section, with the performer answering questions, & well, even pontificating.
Competitors to YouNow are obviously Meerkat & Periscope, the latter of Twitter fame, but analysts are struck by the popularity of YouNow. The connection between performers & the fan base is what seems to be appealing to the younger crowd. Sideman has urged young creative types to get on YouNow & put out their talent for people to experience. Some members have even been picked up by talents shows already. He is also proud of the fact that many performers actually make their living through YouNow. There are obviously checks & balances to ensure that nothing inappropriate goes on. A team of moderators monitor the feeds, & weirdos are blocked.
A system of virtual in-app purchases can be made by fans when they like the performer. So they buy ‘bars’, ‘hearts’ or ‘thumbsups’ which are accumulated & the performer gets a percentage. There are no advertisements on YouNow for now, so that is a hugely important fact. According to the company, users spent between US $1.5 million and $2 million giving each other digital tips. YouNow kept 30% of that. Analysts are watching this no-advertising model with interest to see if it is sustainable.
Click here to download YouNow for free on GooglePlay or the AppStore.
Image Credit: YouNow