Bigo Live Broadcasting launched in March 2016 and is available on iOS and Android. At first glance, it’s not much different from live-streaming apps like Periscope and Meerkat.
Currently, Instagram offers curated, edited images. Snapchat documents spontaneous, unplanned moments. Bigo Live, in its special way, offers a live feed of the prosaic in-betweens. It is social media that glorifies the sum total of our boring lives, telling us that even your weekend nights spent alone at home should be exhibited for consumption.
Users start from as young as 14 year olds and the broadcasts mostly feature them going about their lives, just with a camera pointed at them. Conversations go on between users and the broadcaster.
The desire to spontaneously share details about your life that drives millennial juggernaut Snapchat – and, consequently, the desire of others to witness that – looks like a key factor to Bigo’s appeal.
BIGO LIVE – Live Broadcasting
via Google Play
The Bigo app relies heavily on game-like elements, where the more you participate (following other users, broadcasting, and so on), the more experience points you get. You use those to climb levels and that seems to help push your streams to more viewers.
According to the app, “the best way to get [experience points] is to send more gifts.” The game feature and the gift and currency systems in Bigo are a big part of the appeal. Bigo keeps you engaged by getting you invested in its community, both literally and figuratively. The payout for prolific streamers is an extra incentive for them to keep using the app.
The younger demographic is also a draw. Like Snapchat, Bigo has seemingly been built up around young users who are more willing to create and watch video content constantly. The fact that users can go on the app and find people exactly like them helps spread the message.
Given that the app has been active for less than six months now, its performance is impressive. It took the arrival of an unprecedented international runaway hit to knock it lower down in the charts in Singapore, and I imagine Bigo’s users overlap with Pokemon Go players quite a bit. It remains to be seen how long the company can maintain this momentum, but for now it looks like it has cracked personal live-streaming in the region.