Google Invests In Chinese Mobile Live Streaming Startup

TNL Take: Due to The Great Firewall of China, Google's numerous products including YouTube and its core Search functionality are not accessible to the country's 1B+ population. 

Google is looking to circumvent these restrictions through last week's investment in Chinese mobile live streaming and esports platform, Chushou

Founded in 2015, Chushou has 90M registered users and 8M Unique Streamers - while smaller than other Chinese live streaming sites like Douyu.tv (30M Daily Active Users) or Panda.tv - with Google's involvement, Chushou will be looking to grow internationally as well.

Chushou's main notable difference is that it focuses on live streaming mobile games where China's usage is enormous. My chats with China Global Television Network around mobile gaming usage:

Along with the Google/Chushou investment, China's YY Inc. is planning to spin off it's esports video platform Huya Broadcasting in the U.S. and seeking to raise $200M.

Time will tell if Google will be able to grow Chushou to compete with Twitch outside of China but this significant investment shows another big bet on mobile gaming and esports.

TNL eSports Startups 005: Genvid Raises $1.5M For eSports Broadcasts

TNL ESPORTS STARTUPS 005: Genvid

TNL eSports Startups 005: Genvid

TNL Take: I briefly looked at Genvid back in June in The Next Level 010 The War On Twitch.

As that article was getting fairly long, I grouped Genvid with other companies in the streaming tools space like Infiniscene, Hubtag, Stage 10 and Beam - which should sound familiar as Microsoft bought them last month.

Genvid is now announced a $1.5M seed funding round for their eSports broadcast camera technology.

Genvid (Photo: Genvid)

I believe in opportunities in the streaming space however this seems challenging for two reasons:

 

/01 Developer Monetization

Why the release alluded to consumer engagement, it seems that Genvid's product is really more suited for developers.

Therein lies the hurdle.

Even if the technology is Best In Class and all the big eSports Publishers want to use it, there's limited revenue potential due to that small number.

/02 VR

Genvid also said that their tech would be useful for VR developers.

Genvid Video (Photo: Venturebeat)

There was no public video made available and it's tough to gauge applicability based on the picture above; but it seems the 360 degree nature of VR may eliminate this need.

Still I can't be sure without seeing it in action.

While I don't think Genvid provides the engagement that Beam did - and that deal is all about Minecraft than broadcasting anyways - the one potential upside is providing this tech to traditional sports broadcasting.

Microsoft's Beam Buy Is More About Minecraft Than Twitch

Microsoft's Beam Buy Is More About Minecraft Than Twitch

(Photo: Microsoft)

TNL Take: 7:17 AM conversation with an 8 year old.

"Dad, stop please."

What about this?  Instead of just watching Stampy, you can actually tell him what to do and interact with him. Wouldn't that be cool? 

"You're blocking the iPad." 

This company Beam is going to do that. You're going to like it.

"Dad! I'm watching Stampy!"

 

He had no idea what I'm talking about.

You have no idea what I'm talking about.

Here's the deal.

 

When I was a kid way back in that Mesozoic Age called The '80's, my TV consumption primarily consisted of morning and afternoon cartoons inside of a big, black box.

For my young son today, his "TV" is 99% Netflix or YouTube on an iPad and 50% of that are Minecraft videos hosted by the ever affable Brit, Stampy Longnose or Stampy Longhead or Stampy Cat.

You don't need to bother to look him up.

This is 25 year old Joseph Garrett as his Passport says and I'd estimate that he'll bring in $5M this year on Minecraft related content and Sponsorships.

(Photo: DailyMail UK)

 

My son is obsessed with him

 

You went through that to give you a sense of the massive audience reach and engagement potential of Microsoft's purchase of live streaming service Beam yesterday.

I included Beam in my "War On Twitch" article in June and this will require a much longer dive - and will be added to the pile of article updates needed.

Beam is a live streaming service like Twitch and many others but the one distinct feature is the ability for the audience to direct the streamer during gameplay - go this direction, use this weapon, go on this quest, etc.

 

Here's a few quick points on the late news from yesterday:

 

/01 Seattle

Beam is based there. And so is Microsoft.

 

/02 Team

By my quick estimate, Beam went from Beta in January, to winning TechCrunch Disrupt in May, to an acquisition by Microsoft in August.

8 months.

Should tell you how the team executes right there.

 

/03 Cost

Beam had only raised $420K in seed funding outside of the Disrupt prize money. I'm just going to throw out a $10M acquisition price just for comparison sake.

Microsoft bought the In Game Advertising startup I worked for Massive Inc. for about $200M.

In 2006.

In 2010 - they closed the business.

 

Also nice return for the investors in Beam.

 

 

/04 First Minecraft.  Then Twitch and eSports

In the near term, this is going to be about integration into 1st party Microsoft games like Minecraft and the upcoming Sea of Thieves, which is all about multiplayer gameplay.

Long term, there are much wider implications across eSports, broadcasting and distribution.

 

What does this mean for other startups and companies in the live streaming space?

 

Activision-Blizzard has MLG.

Disney has BAMTech.

Microsoft has Beam.

China has 100+ live streaming services.

 

Prediction: EA and PlayStation as the next - and maybe last few - big Buyers in the live streaming and eSports space.

 

TNL eSports Startups 001: Znipe

Swedish eSports Live Streaming Startup Znipe Raises $1M

TNL Take: I can't get Alan Rickman playing Snape out of my head every time I say Znipe's name. 

Swedish based Znipe was started by two former eSports Champions, CEO Johan "Vesslan" Ryman who played for NiP and Business Development Head Christian "Vilden" Lidstrom who played for SK Gaming along with Founder and CTO Erik Åkerfeldt.

Znipe CEO and (Photo: Znipe)

Znipe CEO and (Photo: Znipe)

Znipe just launched at ESL One Cologne and their benefit is providing viewers with the ability to customize your experience from up to 12 streams. A few others are tackling eSports viewership for this more hardcore viewing experience.

I'm curious as to how big the ~10% of the market is compared with the ~90% of the audience which may want just a passive, lean back experience. 

Especially on Mobile.

(via CB Insights)