Why China’s top hook-up app Momo is going into show business

August 24, 2018
Industry News
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Iris Deng
iris.deng@scmp.com

Momo, the Chinese company whose hook-up app morphed into a hybrid of live streaming and social media platform, has moved into reality TV production to attract more broadcasting talent amid intensified rivalry for eyeballs in the country’s live streaming industry.

Momo’s first outing in professional broadcasting is PhantaCity, a music reality show co-produced and sponsored by the company. Since its launch in July, it has become the “most heavily discussed TV variety show” on the internet, especially among the young and well-educated audience, Momo chief executive Tang Yan said in a conference call with analysts after announcing its earnings results on Wednesday.

While Tang did not reveal the show’s direct contribution to Momo’s user base, he stressed that short-term user growth was not the key objective. Rather, he wants to use the show as a bigger platform for Momo’s broadcasters and promote live streaming as a respected career choice.

Aired on Hunan TV and also streamed online, PhantaCity features Chinese pop stars and directors in live musical performances, including pop diva Faye Wong. Four episodes of the 12-part series have been aired.

In the latest episode, two Momo live streamers appear as supporting characters alongside the celebrity performers. In future Momo’s broadcasters may also play leading characters in the show, while more will appear in advertisement videos, according to a Momo spokeswoman.

“By putting our top performers on the same stage as real world celebrities we are promoting live streaming as a new form of entertainment,” Tang said in the conference call. “At the same time, we are also hoping to demonstrate to the performers as well as the users that live broadcasting is a career worth pursuing, not just because they can make money out of it, but also because they can win real respect as a professional entertainer.”

The ultimate goal for Momo is to attract talented broadcasters to its live streaming platform, who would produce quality content and keep its users on the app, helping combat the challenges of fierce rivalry and slower user growth in the industry. Continue Reading

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