Dragonfly FM tunes up for bigger market share

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/11/14 20:07:35

Yu Meng, general manager of Dragonfly FM International Photo: Courtesy of Dragonfly FM International



The audio content industry has seen dramatic boom. The growing significance of efficient communication operations globally and increasing adoption of digital technology in the communication field gears up the development of the world professional mobile audio content market. According to a new market report of the professional mobile audio content market, published by Transparency Market Research, the global professional mobile audio content market is expected to reach $36,285.7 million by 2026.

In China, several leading audio sharing platform such as Dragonfly FM, Himalaya FM, and Lychee FM, have all gained huge amounts of users. The platforms have also drawn celebrities to show up to spread their voices to the audience. For example, a famous Chinese music producer Gao Xiaosong launched his own talk shows on Dragonfly FM last year, which has so far drawn over 5 billion playbacks across the platform. Meanwhile, they are reaching their business overseas with an international version to be launched soon. The Global Times (GT) talks with Yu Meng (Yu), general manager of Dragonfly FM International.

GT: The mobile audio content users in 2017 was 296 million, with the market scale around 3.24 billion yuan ($465,959,099). Mobile audio content is not very big but very competitive, and in addition to Dragonfly FM, there are also other mobile audio content platforms such as Himalaya FM and Lychee FM. Finding new growth points determines the value of these platforms. What are the growth points of Dragonfly FM?

Yu: It would have to be our content. One is on the smart home and vehicle-mounted sectors. These are all very new growth points, especially with the launch of 5G and the development of Artificial Intelligence(AI), which makes the Internet of Things achievable. Unlike video products that you need to see with your eyes or manipulate with your hands, for audio products you just need to listen with your ears and therefore it is easier to spread online.

Another trend is the internationalization of the audio industry, which has been reflected in the past 80 years of growth and development of the audio industry worldwide. This is also the business direction of Dragonfly FM International. Through internationalizing our content, we may find our new growth points in terms of generating cash flow.

GT: Overlapping of contents has always been a serious issue for online service providers. Therefore, exclusive content has become the key element that retains users. Yet the high cost of exclusive contents also gobbles up the profits, which makes video or audio sharing platforms difficult to generate profit. How does Dragonfly FM deal with this issue?

Yu: There is a conflict between exclusive content and profit-making. So, how do we deal with this? It is mainly to increase the penetration rate. In other words, we need to increase the users' activity on our platform. At present, the penetration rate of the domestic audio industry is around 20 percent. We believe that when the penetration rate increases to 30 percent or 40 percent, we can gradually make profit.

In order to increase users' activities, we will develop the original input of all our content. At the same time, we will also expand the proportion of professional self-produced and original content, as well as text transliteration, which is the transformation of the copyrighted text content that we bought out to implement into our self-recorded audio content. Such investment is our basic guarantee for sustainable development.

GT: You mentioned copyrights. My question stems from patent disputes concerning the content on audio sharing platforms such as Dragonfly FM and Himalaya FM. Although the industry as a whole emphasizes content payment and respects copyrights, the copyrights over audio products have still not received enough attention. How does Dragonfly FM view this?

Yu: The copyright issue has always been a concern in the content industries, because whether it's text copyright, audio copyright, or video copyright, they are all the labor values of the creators. Dragonfly FM is a professional user generated content (PUGC) audio platform, we pay highly attention to content with correct rights license, we have a very complete copyright review chain. Our structure will allow both the creators and the narrators to gain respect and share the sales of our copyrighted content. In terms of copyright, we have a lot of important layouts. In fact, as early as 2014, Dragonfly FM has already acquired China National Radio (CNR), and obtained a large number of excellent broadcasting and storytelling work. After 2015, there were also a lot of significant strategic cooperation between literature websites and Dragonfly FM. I think when we talk about user generated content (UGC), be it international or domestic, nobody is able to avoid the copyright risk from it. Therefore, UGC will not be our focus in future development plans. Instead, we are still insistent on developing our own core, which is PUGC.

GT: You are mainly responsible for the international business of Dragonfly FM. Could you introduce the main aspects of your international business strategy?

Yu: Dragonfly FM International's strategy is dubbed as "two out, one in." What are the two? First, we will aggregate the multi-language contents, which will be released and retailed in countries around the world. We're also going to be able to aggregate about 200,000 audio contents in 35 languages. Now, of course, there are mainly eight languages, including English, German, Russian, Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese. We will officially launch this product in 2019 to meet the needs of users around the world. This is one of them. The second is the launch of our Chinese content, which is the internationalization of Chinese content. We will localize and standardize the quality of Chinese content of Dragonfly FM before distributing and selling it to European and American markets, or to the international mainstream audio platforms. Chinese content output now covers 103 countries in 60 languages, including 65 countries along the route of the Belt and Road initiative. There is also a strategy we call the one in, which is to introduce the world's best audio contents to our platform in China to let the Chinese audience listen to the latest trends in audio content.



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