Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten has launched a live video streaming service that has shopping functionality built in.
The company introduced it locally last Friday, describing it as a service that allows artists, celebrities and general users to live-stream videos and communicate with viewers in real-time.
Viewers can send comments and gifts and can also buy products featured on-screen thanks to the live commerce function, which will be linked to other Rakuten Group services.
Rakuten Live will link to online shopping mall Rakuten Ichiba, Rakuten Books and Rakuten Ticket, with future plans to include videos featuring merchants from Rakuten Ichiba.
“With the growing popularity of social media and video-sharing services, it is now possible for anyone to easily share content,” said the company in a statement.
“Fans are now able to engage in interactive two-way communication with artists and celebrities in a way that had not been possible before.”
“In addition to offering a live entertainment experience that promotes user participation, Rakuten Live leverages the Rakuten group’s e-commerce services to provide a robust live commerce experience, creating a next generation live video streaming service.”
Separately, Rakuten’s video-on-demand service, Rakuten TV, expanded to more than 40 countries in Europe earlier this year. This European service is headquartered in Spain and offers films and TV shows to rent and buy.