Indonesia has been dubbed the “social media capital of the world” thanks to the popularity of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram there. Now armed with $1 million in seed funding from DeNA and 500 Startups, Zeemi.tv is betting that its live-streaming video platform will prove just as popular in the country as other social networks.
Launched last year by Thomas Damek, the co-founder and former CEO of Lazada Indonesia, Zeemi.tv’s content can be broadly divided into two categories. Performers and celebrities schedule shows to connect with fans, while ordinary users broadcast bits from their life on the platform.
“In Indonesia, people are super-engaged on social media, but they are also moving gradually from text to pictures, from Twitter to Instagram, and from pictures to video,” says Damek. “So the logical next step is to share richer content.”
The concept is similar to Periscope and Meerkat, both of which launched after Zeemi.tv, but Zeemi.tv differentiates by focusing on local content for Indonesian viewers and making streams accessible on its responsive website.
The latter is important because even though smartphone penetration in Indonesia is growing rapidly, it is still relatively low at 23 percent.
Damek notes, however, that most of Zeemi.tv’s current users are teenagers or people in their early twenties who already own a smartphone and access Zeemi.tv through its Android app.
The company will use its seed funding to release an iOS app, marketing, and improving its live-streaming technology. It is eyeing expansion into other Southeast Asian markets, but Damek says that is a long-term goal and Zeemi.tv is currently focused on growing its user base in Indonesia.
Zeemi.tv competes with CliponYu, another Indonesian live-streaming video site, but Damek says they target different markets. CliponYu features scheduled broadcasts by hosts, while Zeemi.tv has a wider mix of user-generated content.
The site makes money by selling gifts that viewers can purchase for their favorite broadcasters using their smartphone credits or e-wallets. Zeemi.tv then shares a cut of the revenue with the content creator.
Zeemi.tv’s new relationship with investor DeNA may help it expand—DeNA runs Showroom, one of the largest live-streaming platforms in Japan.
In a prepared statement, James Riney, principal at DeNA’s venture capital arm, said “we’ve been bullish on live-streaming way before the recent hype, and see it as the next frontier in video and social. We’re excited to get behind Tom and his team, and build the leading creative outlet for Indonesians across the country.”