/Nagesh Banga, Deputy Country Manager, Bigo Live

Nagesh Banga, Deputy Country Manager, Bigo Live

Nagesh Banga
“Bigo Live plans to entrench deeper into the Indian market”

Live streaming platform Bigo Live has brought an altogether different experience to the Indian audiences by offering a range of services, from entertainment and education to gaming etc. It has opened new doors of opportunities for content creators as well as consumers. The platform now aims to make it big in India by serving all kinds of content to users. Nagesh Banga, Deputy Country Manager, Bigo Live talks comprehensively about the platform and its prospects in India, in a chat with Ramesh Kumar Raja. Excerpts:

Social media landscape has changed incredibly in the last few years. There are a number of social networking platforms mushrooming up. In that sense, how is Bigo Live different from others in services and contents?

Yes, there is a great shift in how people are consuming the content on internet, and the social media has a vital role in it. Nowadays, social media is not about posting anything or everything. It is becoming not just a platform to connect with like-minded people, showcase your talent and creativity but also to learn and earn out of it. Bigo Live has opened up new gates of opportunities for people who are creating content as well as who are consuming it. Not just that Bigo Live is helping its broadcasters to showcase their talent on a global level, but also indirectly developing their fan following globally. From the user side, many of the users are able to learn many soft skills like Spoken English (a new initiative by Bigo Live under the education Tab), playing instruments or dance from the broadcasters through a live session, and also they can watch lots of entertainment content and play games too, which gives Bigo Live an edge over others.

We understand our target audience and thus, keep on improvising our content by launching new content categories like Education Channel (recently launched to provide soft skill training and English sessions online to reach out to audience in tier 2 and 3 cities too), PUGC project (opportunity for professional user generated content creators) and MC project for budding underground rappers which makes us stand out as not just a brand, but as a self improvement choice and thus providing more entertaining content for the users to consume.

What makes us furthermore different is an opportunity being provided to these talented KOL’s to become micro entrepreneurs and thus creating a healthy and thriving content generating environment for the local community.

Besides, we have a very strong AI and AR ability which recommends users the right kind of content on the basis of the kind of content our users have watched in the past, what kind of content they may want to see and various interactive and funny filters while live. This type of recommendation technique utilizes a sophisticated AI algorithm, of which we are considered the forerunner in the industry.

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“Bigo Live keeps on conducting user engagement activities and events (both in-app and out-of-app like on social media or organizing fan meet or broadcasters meet). As a platform, we encourage budding talents and provide opportunities where Bigo users get to compete and perform in front of different audiences across the globe and earn support of their fans”

What is the user base of Bigo Live and its product line? How many countries are there where you offer your services? How many installs Bigo Live has amassed in India?

Bigo Live is a product of Singapore based Bigo Technology Pte Ltd. Our company has regional offices in more than 20 countries, 5 R&D centres across various geographies, few more in planning stage with India being one of them. The content on Bigo Live is derived and available in more than 150 countries. In terms of user base, Bigo Technology has a global MAU of 78.7 million users combining Bigo Live and Like both. Another global communication app called ‘imo’ has acquired more than 200 million MAU in the world.

How do you engage and ensure the retention of your users as they usually keep hopping from one platform to the others?

User retention is one of the key challenges that brands these days face. Therefore, it is even more important to keep improvising your content w.r.t your user base, and make it more local and interactive, which can be achieved only by understanding your users well.

Bigo Live keeps on conducting user engagement activities and events (both in-app and out-of-app like on social media or organizing fan meet or broadcasters meet). As a platform, we encourage budding talents and provide opportunities where Bigo users get to compete and perform in front of different audiences across the globe and earn support of their fans.

Apart from that, we at Bigo Live keep training our broadcasters in terms of creating/curating content on how to engage your users, and educating them about best practices of live streaming, so that they can build more interesting content and build a good engagement for users.

Being a live streaming community, we make sure to create varied content categories so as to cater to wider set of audience. Our KOLs are not limited to entertainers, dancers, singers, but with the recently-launched PUGC Content (Professional User Generated Content) MC Content (Gateway for underground rappers) and Education Channel, we are trying to address the needs of our users by transforming our platform and content to a one-stop shop. Hence by providing them everything under one roof, under one ecosystem, we make sure we retain our users.

With content, also come content creators. Here, we make sure a talent gets enough mileage in terms of marketing support, learning and development, including training them to participate in various Bigo Live properties like India Live House, PK Battle, Music Live House to showcase their talent and widen their reach and fan base. Apart from LnD, we try to promote our local talents overseas. A while ago, we had sent a KOL at our expense for an overseas performance. Such opportunities are hard to come by and rare for a platform; it serves as an incentive for our KOLs to continuously strive to provide engaging and relevant content to retain followers and to be relevant.

Flow of unwanted/unwarranted contents has become the order of the day. Do you follow any filter mechanism to do away with this issue on your platform?

Yes, this is where our training provided to our content creators and moderation practices adopted by Bigo Live comes into play.

Firstly, we follow a comprehensive approach towards selecting our content creators. Talents are only on-boarded after multiple rounds of auditions, background checks and training to ensure that they fully understand the type of content that is accepted and their talents are groomed accordingly within the boundaries of set guidelines.

As per our moderation guidelines, we have quality checks at each level and different penalties based on unwanted content. Penalties differ based on level of offense and can be as severe as banning the ID, blacklisting the ID etc.

We have a robust moderation setup to ensure quality content. We have a team of over 500 moderators in India in doing moderation in 19 different languages for a product of Bigo Technology. Not only this, but we also have one of the world’s strongest AI technology to cater to our moderation of content on Bigo Live. Our AI is able to detect negative content and issue a ban within 60 seconds.

Recently, we have become a member of Internet and Mobile Association of India to ensure our commitment towards adopting best industry practices while abiding by the local regulations and to collectively work towards the upliftment of Indian internet ecosystem in association with IAMAI.

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Please tell us about Bigo Live’s business model and your future plans.

We plan to entrench ourselves deeper into the Indian market through localization of our business. Our plans to localise will be targeted at local level, so that we will always be relevant to our users.

Our aim is to become a platform serving all kinds of content to users in India, from entertainment to social, soft skill training to celebrity content, and polished scripted content to UGC (user-generated content). Whatever you want to see, Bigo Live is there to serve you, basically all kinds of entertainment under one roof.

For this, we are developing a MCN network. Also on a larger side, our aim is to bridge the gap between Net Idols and Bollywood and TV entertainment world. We want our broadcasters to be part of main stream media for which we are talking to various movie and production houses.

Also, we want to develop an ecosystem catering to needs of all of our users. This is another reason why Education Channel is getting much needed positive responses.

Besides, our plan is to groom these talents and create micro-entrepreneurs via our platform. We are also in talks with a few reality media houses for co-creation of content and integrations..

“Our aim is to become a platform serving all kinds of content to users in India, from entertainment to social, soft skill training to celebrity content, and polished scripted content to UGC (user-generated content). Whatever you want to see, Bigo Live is there to serve you, basically all kinds of entertainment under one roof”

Data security is the talk of the town, especially in wake of Facebook data breach. What steps do you take to maintain privacy?

Bigo Live is a responsible live streaming brand. For us, our users are of utmost importance. Bigo Live ensures the data privacy is in sync with the laws of the land and we duly adhere to the same.

Our data is encrypted and we have a strict policy not to disclose it to any unauthorised person.

Considering Indians’ love for mobile and apps in India, do you have any India-specific plan?

For India region, we have hired over 13,000 official broadcasters and we work with over 300 talent agencies and wish to increase the number by manifold in the coming times.

We are hiring English tutors, professional influencers and rappers to widen our supply of content creators.

In the past, we have also collaborated with brands like UC, Honor and Layuva for their product launches and to penetrate their reach in Indian market. We look forward to such alliances in future too.

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Ramesh Kumar Raja
He has an experience of over eight years in different departments of journalism. Having worked with The Times of India, Hindustan Times, Delhi Press and News Wire Service, he is a Delhi University graduate and has a good nose for news. He loves writing over issues of social relevance. His crave for learning digital technology brought him to My Mobile

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