NEW YORK, Dec. 21, 2020 — Since the emergence of social media platforms back in the early 2000s, the global landscape for this market has changed significantly. Today, besides the global leaders such as Facebook and Twitter, there are many other applications with a more regional focus.
Many social media platforms even target specific social media activities and niches. Some social media platforms may not show up in global social media market share statistics, but their regional or niche social media market share is quite significant. Most social media companies provide their platforms for free and usually make money from digital advertisements, data collection, and premium user offerings. And, according to data published by T4, in 2019, the size of the social media industry was 3 billion users and is projected to grow by 4.4% throughout this year. Meanwhile, from 2018 to 2023, the social media industry growth is forecast to average 3.7% per year (CAGR). Hello Pal International Inc. (CSE: HP), JOYY Inc. (NASDAQ: YY), Tencent Holdings Limited (OTC: TCEHY), Baidu, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU), iQIYI, Inc. (NASDAQ: IQ)
Social media, as a sector, is very complicated and is fragmented into many different forms. These include blogs, forums, business networks, photo-sharing platforms, social gaming, microblogs, chat apps, video based social apps that have become more popular in recent years and, last but not least, social networks. Specifically, the emergence of video based social apps has pushed many traditional networks to adapt, while also providing a new way for retailers and ecommerce companies to market their products. For example, Walmart recently announced that it is teaming up with TikTok, a Chinese video-sharing social networking service, to sell products on the app months after agreeing to acquire a stake in the video-based social media platform.
Hello Pal International Inc. (CSE: HP) announced last week the, “launch of its one-on-one video matching service as well as a VIP membership system.
Expanding on the Company’s successful introduction of video livestreaming a year ago, the Company has introduced a one-on-one video matching service to allow its users to easily meet other users directly through one-one-one live video chat. Users who wish to explore this new way of meeting other users are matched with other similar users, enabling users to quickly and efficiently find others to video chat with.
Launched alongside this new feature is a VIP membership system, where users can subscribe for VIP membership which provides a host of additional perks and functionality to enhance not just the one-one video matching experience, such as targeted matching and video matching chat durations, but also to enhance the experience throughout the Hello Pal app, such as access to unlimited translation. Users can subscribe for VIP membership for different prices and durations, ranging from CAD $3.35 for a week to CAD $64 for a year.
‘We are excited to bring this new feature to Hello Pal as it allows our users another way of quickly conversing with other users from all over the world,’ said Adega Zhou, President of Hello Pal. ‘Although the service is still in an early phase of rollout, we believe this has the potential to be a highly used feature within our platform, especially after we have finished enhancing the service’s functionality and tweaking the user experience according to user feedback.’
The introduction of the VIP membership system also marks a new revenue model and revenue stream for the Company, in addition to the revenue stream currently generated through user top-ups from the livestreaming service introduced last year.
‘We have just planted a new seed in terms of revenue growth, which we fully expect to blossom and bear fruit for us next year,’ said the Company’s CEO and Founder, KL Wong. ‘The VIP membership revenue stream not only gives us a new revenue model, but will also significantly improve our margins going forward,’ he added.
JOYY Inc. (NASDAQ: YY) through its subsidiaries, operates a social media platform in the People’s Republic of China and internationally. Mr. David Xueling Li, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of JOYY, commented in its unaudited financial results for the third quarter of 2020, “Despite uncertainties from macro perspective, we remained focused on executing our dual-engine growth strategy in the third quarter of 2020. Through a combination of globalized market reach and localized operations management, we continued to achieve solid growth in our financial results. Despite the negative impact from Indian government’s measures to block certain Chinese-owned apps in its local market and other geopolitical risks, our global MAU remained relatively stable, thanks to rapid expansion of our business in other regions.”
Tencent Holdings Limited (OTC: TCEHY) operates through VAS, FinTech and Business Services, Online Advertising, and Others segments. It offers online games and social network services; FinTech and cloud services; and online advertising services. Back in March, the Company announced that WeChat, China’s most used social platform, is partnering with major technology platforms including Facebook and Microsoft to invite developers to a global hackathon in order to help the fight against the coronavirus pandemic with technology. The initiative adds to the ongoing efforts by WeChat and its developer community in coming up with creative technological solutions including mini programs and health codes to help billions battle the COVID-19 outbreak in China and shift life online.
Baidu, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU) provides Internet search services in China and internationally. Last month the company reported that it had entered into definitive agreements with JOYY Inc. (“JOYY”). Pursuant to the agreements, Baidu will acquire JOYY’s domestic video-based entertainment live streaming business in China (“YY Live”), which includes YY mobile app, YY.com website and PC YY, among others, for an aggregate purchase price of approximately US$3.6 billion in cash, subject to certain adjustments. The closing of the transaction is subject to certain conditions and is currently expected to occur in the first half of 2021. “Baidu has built a vibrant mobile ecosystem in the past few years to enable the fast growth of our non-advertising revenues by increasing log in users, adding social engagement to our platform and expanding non-advertising offerings, including membership, live streaming and online games. This transaction will catapult Baidu into a leading platform for live streaming and diversify our revenue source.” said Robin Li, Co-Founder and CEO of Baidu. “YY Live comes to Baidu bringing great synergy. YY Live stands to benefit from Baidu’s large traffic and thriving mobile ecosystem, while Baidu will receive immediate operational experience and knowhow for large-scale video-based social media development, as well as an enviable creator network that will further strengthen Baidu’s massive content provider network. Together with the team from YY Live, Baidu hopes to explore the next-generation livestreaming and video-based social media that can expand beyond entertainment into the diversified verticals on Baidu platform.”
iQIYI, Inc. (NASDAQ: IQ) together with its subsidiaries, provides online entertainment services under the iQIYI brand in the People’s Republic of China. The company offers internet video, online games, live broadcasting, online literature, animations, e-commerce, and social media platform. In the company’s recent financial results it has reported membership services revenue was RMB4.0 billion (US$585.5 million), representing a 7% increase from the same period in 2019. The increase was primarily attributable to our various operational initiatives to improve monetization. “Despite the turbulence this year, we have leveraged a number of strategies, such as launching theatre-themed content and upgrading our membership portfolio, to improve our service and to better serve our users. Our Mist Theatre has become a remarkable success in terms of both reputation and ROI. In the coming quarters, we may continue to see fluctuations in the number of subscribers, driven by the normalization of user behaviour and content pipeline. However, with the valuable insight gained during this period, we believe our capabilities are sharpened in content generation and technology innovation, which have better positioned us to capture greater business opportunities in the future,” Dr. Yu Gong, Founder, Director, and Chief Executive Officer of iQIYI explained.
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