The evolution of photo and video sharing platforms, like the ubiquitous Instagram, has been full of innovations and annoyances. From basic filters to complex AR face-changing features to the inclusion of video, then live-streaming and broadcasting, the evolution of social media content sharing has moved at breakneck speed.
Along with changes in the medium and its immediacy, we’ve also seen innovations in monetization opportunities for creators. Long gone are the days of a simple banner ad below a YouTube video. Now, many social media platforms offer creators the instant gratification of being paid virtual gifts in return for their efforts.
And, of course, the global pandemic has seen a huge spike in the use of virtual ways to connect with others, spawning new apps and pivoting others.
I first saw this in action within the LiveMe broadcasting app, where broadcasters could receive everything from a simple “clap hands” emoji or a virtual latte to a fully animated 3D castle or humungous diamond. Gifts are converted to diamonds, and around 20,000 diamonds earn you a $50 payout.
Ranked in the Top 5 Breakout Social Apps by Consumer Spend according to App Annie, Tango – a social platform for live video broadcasting – similarly allows creators of all sizes to stream live content and receive gifts as a reward. As with other similar platforms, viewers purchase coins to reward “Livers” with virtual gifts in real-time. Livers can also engage in live games and competitions, prompting coin rewards for both themself and the winning viewers.
As with LiveMe, the addition of gifting in Tik Tok and Instagram Live it’s not a new idea, but it is growing in prominence, and the numbers offer a compelling reason. Apps that feature live streaming as a core component accounted for $3 of every $4 spent in the top 25 social apps worldwide in 2021. Social media platform monetization is projected to grow in general, with global consumers expected to spend $78 billion on social apps through 2025, as forecasted by mobile data firm App Annie. This development will offer vast possibilities for live streamers to monetize their content.
So what makes Tango different from the existing gift-enabled live broadcasting platforms?
“In 2009, Tango invented the first mobile cross-platform, cross-network video chat platform,” Uri Raz, CEO at Tango, told me. “We have over 35 patents and are number one for video quality in the industry. In addition, we are the only ‘western company’ with a western brand (UI) and all-in-one global content, engagement, and gamification tools.”
And for consumers on this side of the planet, that last point is essential and the first point of focus for the company – geography. In particular, China and Asia are swamped with similar platforms. Still, many have not been localized for anyone that doesn’t speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, or other Asian languages.
“The western market is a largely expanding space for live-streaming and User-Generated Content,” Raz said. “With the ads business model shrinking and users growing tired of being blatantly monetized, social networks will quickly move to other monetization models. Tango already has a headstart in the Western market, and we are positioned to be at the forefront of this growth and change.”
Unlike Instagram, which it could be argued has started to become unwieldy compared to its humble (and easy to use) origins, there’s another area of priority that is important to Tango’s success – feature focus.
“Tango is ‘only live, always live,’” Raz said. “It is not simply a feature, but our main product. With no ads and minimal marketing, we function on micro-transactions that support micro-influencers to generate a real creator’s economy in a 5G world. Consumers aren’t constantly bombarded with ads and pop-ups, making for a more seamless and engaging user experience. Removing the traditional monetization model opens up a lot more room for connection, community, and uninterrupted entertainment.”
Tango already has more than 10 million registered users, and a total of 25 million hours of live content was streamed throughout 2021. Over 500,000 people use it daily, turning live connections into microtransactions. Indeed, it recently celebrated the first Tango-made millionaire in December of 2021 who, like other creators, is directly supported by their fanbase.
Tango is another in a long line of “unicorns” coming out of Tel Aviv. So what’s next for the live broadcasting app?
“Tango is an agile and innovative company,” Raz said. “We create engagement tools for our users to unlock their creativity and earn more, without direct consumer monetization. For example, we recently launched an NFT-like pilot with unique digital Tango Cards that have become very successful on the platform. We are continuing to roll out our NFT Marketplace so that, in addition to broadcasting live, our users can sell and trade their digital assets in the app. We will continue to lead the industry through change, always with the goal of fostering our Tango community in mind.”