Published on: October 6, 2023
Livestreaming has seen remarkable worldwide expansion, with the global market projected to surpass a staggering US$1.49 billion in 2023. However, what works in one corner of the world doesn’t always translate to success in Japan. Livestreaming platforms in Japan have carved out their own unique space, setting them apart from the trends seen in other regions.
Japan boasts a highly competitive livestreaming scene, featuring a mix of local and international platforms all vying for the attention of users. Join us as we take a closer look at the leading livestreaming platforms making waves in Japan for 2023.
Pococha takes the crown as a homegrown Japanese livestreaming app, tailor-made for the local audience. Since its launch in 2017, Pococha has generated an impressive revenue of over US$300 million. Furthermore, its user base has experienced rapid growth of nearly 324% year-over-year, now exceeding 500,000 monthly active users (MAU) in Japan according to App Ape Lab analytics.
What sets this Japanese livestreaming app apart is its user-friendly interface and interactive chat function, allowing followers to express their support through likes, comments, and emojis when engaging with their favourite hosts.
Beyond these core features, Pococha also offers a range of supplementary elements, including educational resources like livestreaming skill seminars, insights from seasoned streamers, and engaging roundtable discussions.
BIGO Live boasts an impressive user base of approximately 400 million individuals spread across more than 150 countries worldwide, firmly establishing its position as a dominant player in the live-streaming industry across the Asia-Pacific region.
Launched in Singapore in 2016, BIGO Live has gained substantial popularity, amassing approximately 23 million monthly users on a global scale. It has also attracted over 250,000 MAU in Japan.
This app is often likened to a fusion of Twitch and YouTube, where content creators share live video broadcasts encompassing a wide range of activities, from singing and cooking to delivering stand-up comedy. Fans reward their favourite livestreamers through in-app purchases using virtual currency, forming the backbone of BIGO Live’s revenue generation. Notably, the app allows multi-live rooms accommodating up to 12 participants simultaneously.
WhoWatch, a Japanese livestreaming platform, made its debut in 2015. This platform is frequently likened to Niconico Live, an extension of Niconico, the most popular Japanese video-sharing website, thanks to its similar design and functionalities. Interestingly, numerous well-known Niconico Live streamers have made the shift to WhoWatch for the seamless monetization options it offers for their livestreams.
On WhoWatch, content creators accumulate points based on their rankings, which they can later exchange for Amazon Japan gift certificates or cash. Another standout feature of this platform is the option for users to leave anonymous comments without the need for registration.
17LIVE stands out as one of the largest mobile livestreaming platforms in Asia, boasting around 60 million registered users globally.
Originating in Taiwan in 2015, it made a significant impact in Japan in 2020, even relocating its headquarters there just a year later.
At its core, 17LIVE aims to empower individuals to embrace their inner artist. With a diverse lineup of over 32,000 exclusive content creators, the platform showcases a vibrant community of livestreamers who defy conventional norms and have adeptly carved out their unique niches on the platform.
What’s more, this livestreaming app frequently collaborates with entertainment companies, hosting events and auditions that open doors to thrilling opportunities for aspiring talents. It regularly hosts Flash Music Events, providing emerging music talents with the chance to take centre stage and perform concerts.
LINE, Japan’s top messenger and social media app, has garnered a remarkable 95 million monthly active users in the country. In 2015, it introduced “LINE LIVE,” a live streaming service that seamlessly allowed anyone with a LINE or X (formerly Twitter) account to share live video content.
Until its unexpected discontinuation in March 2023, LINE LIVE stood out as one of Japan’s leading livestreaming platforms and was the preferred choice for Japanese celebrities and artists.
What set LINE LIVE apart from its competitors was its exceptionally user-friendly setup. LINE users could cleverly use stickers to conceal their faces while hosting live broadcasts, while viewers had the opportunity to show their support for streamers through comments, hearts, gifts, and a variety of interactive features.
TwitCasting, created in 2013 by a Japanese startup, offers a unique way to livestream and share live videos using your Twitter account. With more than 33 million registered users, a significant portion of its user base consists of teenagers.
What sets TwitCasting apart is its seamless integration with X (Twitter). This integration allows you to showcase your feed alongside your live video stream. When you start a livestream, you have the option to automatically share a customized tweet containing a link to your live broadcast. This informs your followers that you’re currently live.
The ingenious split-screen design of TwitCasting enables livestreamers to multitask effortlessly. You can send tweets or even open a web browser, all while continuously broadcasting live video. This feature enhances the overall livestreaming experience and keeps the audience engaged.
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