Stickers are more than just glorified emoticons, they’re big business don’t you know? While games account for the lion’s share of chat app Line’s revenues, it’s banking $10 million per month from stickers since 2013 and it started letting users make and sell their own earlier this year.
Its user-generated Creators Market opened in April, and Line has now revealed that it sold more than $30 million (¥3.59 billion) in stickers from independent ‘creators’ during the market’s first six months of business. That’s a nice complement to its existing, licensed sticker business.
Half of that revenue figure (less Apple and Google’s app store cuts) is banked by Line, while the other half goes to the artists behind the stickers. (That’s not such a shabby deal when you consider who provides the distribution.)
In total, close to 36 million sticker packs have been bought from the Creators Market, Line said, that’s from a total base of 270,000 creators.
It’s hard to know how well the average sticker-maker has fared. Line said that the top ten user-generated sticker sets clocked an average of $310,000 in sales (over $120,000 in revenue for each artist), while the top 1,000 averaged $23,000 in sales (so a $9,000+ take-home). Line also claimed that 41 percent of Creators Market stickers made at least $85, that’s a fairly paltry sum that suggests that — like app stores — Line’s crowdsourcing of stickers contains plenty of turkeys, or at least comes with discovery issues.
Certainly many creators will have seen nothing like those top returns, but the potential payoff is doubtless tempting to designers who are drawn in by the opportunity to reach Line’s network of over 500 million registered users, 170 million of whom use the service each month..
Beyond helping designers make money, the Creators Market is also a potential differentiator for Line in its quest to stand out from a plethora of other messaging apps. Yes, it has a strong presence in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and other parts of Asia, but it is pushing hard in Europe, Latin America and the U.S. — adding a quarter of a million new artists who make content for free boosts its already substantial investment in licensed stickers and content from major household brands and entertainment companies.
Furthermore, it is also another monetization stream. A take-home of over $10 million from six months of the Creators Market isn’t a huge amount, but its an increase on the 50 million yen ($1.47 million) in sales after the market’s first month of business. Line reported revenue of $192 million in the third quarter of 2014, doubling its number from a year previous, and every bit counts when you consider how tricky monetizing chat apps can be.