The Characteristics of Major Streaming Services in Japan and the Reality behind Them

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Streaming Services 101

As the world has become more technology-oriented than ever before, it is apparent that an increasing number of people have started to incorporate online streaming services in their lives one way or another to deliver their ideal contents to the society. Many teenagers and youths utilize the streaming services to promote themselves online, while the listeners make adequate amount of time to watch their favorite personnels on screen. Each streaming service possesses distinct features that separate them from the rest. Depending on how the streamers, or the individuals who stream the content online, want their contents to be delivered, they use different services that best fit their needs.

Why are these services so appealing?

In reality, many of the streamers start their services not only to connect with their peers, but also to strive to become famous online. As the number of followers grows in their respective platforms, the streamers become more exposed to the mainstream media, and the possibility to be discovered and scouted by production managers to be on television shows or advertisements arises. In fact, many Japanese celebrities today, such as Hikakin from HikakinTV on YouTube and numerous Miss Campus queens who already feature on major advertisements, started off by steaming themselves online; now, they make their careers out of it.

Characteristics of major streaming services

So, let’s take a look at several streaming services that have been dominating in Japan, and how the users utilize them to achieve different purposes.

Instagram

Instagram is one of the most popular social networking services in the world, and it sure has made a strong presence in online community in Japan. According to App Ape, Instagram possesses around 25 million users, and the number continues to go upward. Individuals can use a function called Instagram live to stream real time videos targeting solely their followers. The article from compas-media.tokyo explains that since instagram does not have retweet function, the videos streamed on Instagram live does not have a high diffusivity compared to other SNSs. In fact, only the followers receive notification when the streamer is live, and the videos are deleted in 24 hours. Therefore, compas-media.tokyo describes that Instagram live is used either as a casual way to connect with people in an already-established community online, or as a way to interact with people who became fans of specific brands or products the streamer has promoted on Instagram. Therefore, the streaming service on Instagram encourages interactivity between the streamers and the followers as they promote the contents.

Showroom and 17 Live

In addition, streaming services such as Showroom and 17 Live have become increasingly predominant among Japanese online users in recent years. The article from compas-media.tokyo describes that they are both meant for a single person to stream in front of a large audience online; however, Showroom is often used by idols, while 17 Live is mainly used by amateurs striving to become famous. The streamers can utilize various features on these services, such as inserting creative subtitles and making use of poking function on the audience as a greeting, to make their videos more appealing.
On the other hand, App Ape indicates that many of the active users of such services are predominantly males in their 30s and 40s who look forward to watching the aspiring youths becoming famous.

Although these adults consist mainly of unmarried individuals who look for attractive youths as a comfort, some of them include parents of the streamers who are concerned about the security of their children. Nevertheless, it is safe to say that such streaming services have offered the streamers new approaches to build a strong online presence.

YouTube

Finally, YouTube has transcended other video players and editors in recent years. App Ape illustrates that YouTube is loved and used by people no matter their age group and gender, and this is supported by the fact that YouTube is ranked No.1 in Video Players and Editors category in terms of Monthly Active Users (MAU).

It continues to show an upward trend. So it is safe to say that the future of the video streaming service is still bright.
So, what features set YouTube apart from other streaming services?
Unlike other major streaming services introduced above, YouTube allows the streamer to edit the videos before they put them online, so their videos tend to be shorter than broadcasting live, ranging from five to ten minutes on average. On the other hand, it requires an ability to come up with interesting topics and projects that can capture and keep their target audience online. This may be rather difficult to manage due to the fact that YouTube’s only way to communicate with the audience is through comment section. However, many celebrities today have been successful in utilizing these distinct features on YouTube to gain popularity, despite the lack of interactivity compared to that of other services’.

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