Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Does Fourvive have a future?

Among the growing ‘hobby’ communities on TikTok (as it’s officially called) is the Fourvive service, which allows you to stream from your phone. But some have said Fourvive is poorly built and fun – so does it have a future, and if so, how?

Favorites. Favourites will, among other things, add four friends as avatars. If you want, you can text them with questions, or create a Twitch-like chat-space. You might leave a video, or send a GIF on a pre-determined date, for instance. The main user interface is simple, but you can’t change what other users see – it’s either or. From here, you can also watch the streamer’s channels. There’s a good number of them, so you can choose from a number of themes.

The free plan has support for uploads of between one and three minutes, which are saved to your library. It’s also possible to add a location to your stream, and download videos for offline viewing.

Why should you consider Fourvive?

You can’t expect Fourvive to stand out from the chorus of other seemingly ubiquitous (and ad-supported) tech video creators. But the service has already gained significant recognition.

It became one of top trending shows on Facebook earlier this year (thanks in part to a joke that racked up 10 million views). Many of the young viewers are also Western, and their tastes are catching up to their home regions, where they have far more developed habits on mobile. Twitter and YouTube have also become testing grounds for the service, and clips have begun to pop up on Instagram.

For a service as young as Fourvive, competing against the regular livestreaming apps might be a long shot. Competitors, of course, are plentiful, and mainstream focus is still largely reserved for the likes of Periscope and Facebook Live. But it’s also easy to imagine success beyond the niche of those who have already grown a following on these platforms.

Can you watch Fourvive without paying?

Yes, but you might as well do that through other apps. The service isn’t free and even many who give Fourvive a try report that they don’t enjoy watching content that isn’t free. True, if you don’t have the necessary hardware to stream from your phone, which is where Fourvive would presumably get its cash – that is, you do, in theory, need to pay a premium for your chosen service. But that just raises the question of why you would, knowing the money is coming from advertisers.

Fourvive’s price is a subject of many debates, but the basic app will run you US$3.99/£3.99. But the service is gradually adding subscriptions, the first of which has already gone live. An annual subscription is US$29.99 (or a one-time fee of US$14.99, which is its equivalent to Hulu Plus). Subscriptions are just one of many ways to pay, but it’s an interesting option.

4Vive is at its core an ad-supported video-streaming service (without ads), which brings with it the prevalence of rich media ads. As you probably know, Netflix and Hulu are ad-supported as well, and the number of ad-free streaming services available – Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer all have them – is dwindling. Here at Pop Culture I watch a lot of video through my mobile device, but that often leaves me wanting to pay for it. It’s a problem I’ve come across in my reading of the news. Both Apple and Google have a content-sales strategy for their digital devices, and without a constant stream of ads, the quality of their wares tends to drop. The ads are easy to avoid – you just scroll up and click to the next video – but when you do notice one (such as an in-video call), it’s enough to bring you back to the first one you just missed.

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