Briefing: Tencent tests livestreaming for WeChat public accounts

腾讯直播内测推进,公众号粉丝可通过微信小程序看直播 – TechNode

What happened: Tencent, which previously acknowledged ongoing development of a live-streaming feature for WeChat public accounts, has moved forward in the internal testing process. Account operators are now able to apply to test the product by filling out a questionnaire about their content and followers. Development is headed by Tencent’s live-streaming team rather than WeChat. Reportedly, official account operators will be able to broadcast via Tencent’s live-streaming app; users will be able to sign up and watch via a WeChat mini-program link rather than downloading the app itself. Currently, the feature does not support paid content, monetary gifts for live-streamers, or external links in mini-programs.

Why it’s important: The new feature comes amid a two-year trend of declining views for WeChat public accounts, the social app’s media ecosystem. WeChat founder and president Zhang Xiaolong acknowledged the decline in the platform’s annual January announcements. He also discussed a new, short video feature for WeChat intended to tap into growing user preference for more visual communication. In pushing forward live-streaming efforts, however, Tencent faces an uphill battle. Bytedance announced this month that it will combine staff from its three popular short video appsDouyin, Xigua, and Vigoto build a larger platform for its live-streaming business. Smaller game live-streaming company Panda TV also confirmed its bankruptcy in early March after sinking into RMB 1 billion ($149 million) in debt amid cutthroat competition.