Things I learned reading the Line annual statement

During the sticker market presentation this week the topic of comparable metrics from Line was brought up. Without anyone having the data I decided to read through their latest annual report which can be found here: LINE Corporation | IR library

If you rather not read through the 316 page report I’ll share some interesting data points I found in it below.

As of December 2018:

Line had:
144 million monthly active users
4 Billion daily messages sent (27 daily avg per user)
374 million daily average number of stickers sent (2.5 daily avg per user)
9.6 million monthly users that paid for Stickers or Themes (6.5% of users)
1.1 million monthly users that paid for line games (1/2% of users)

Sticker and theme sales by Line and 3rd parties made up 13.8% of revenue @ ~$265MM ($1.84 per user)
Sales of virtual items in Line games made up 18.5% of revenue @ ~$354MM
The largest revenue category was Account advertising (Official account, sponsored stickers and LINE point ads) which made 27.4% of revenue @ ~$526MM
Display ads made up 17% of revenue.

Other interesting notes, mostly copy paste from here:

At the heart of our platform is the LINE mobile messaging application, which enables users to communicate with family, friends and other people they care about in the following ways:

  • We address people’s basic communication needs.

We focus on serving users’ everyday

communication needs by supplying easy-to-use tools, including chat, voice call and video call, with reliable and secure connectivity wherever they are. As a result, our services have already become a meaningful part of the daily lives of many of our users.

We enable closed and real relationship-based communication.

We believe that the most rewarding

and lasting forms of expression are those involving private, two-way exchanges between people

with real relationships, which enhance intimacy and security. Our users can connect with other

users they know by directly adding them as friends on LINE or by importing their mobile contact

list into LINE. We believe that closer, intimate relationships are integral to the broader social web

of activity, representing a more meaningful and influential subset of social networks.

We make communication more enriching and expressive.

We are a pioneer in the creation and

design of Stickers, our larger and more expressive version of emoticons. Users can express their emotions or actions by sending a single Sticker instead of a thread of plain text. We believe that Stickers have made communication more convenient, creative and enriching

Page 45

Sponsored Stickers.

Our advertisers can offer “Sponsored Stickers” to LINE users to promote their

brands, products and services. We work with advertisers to design sets of Sponsored Stickers,

which often feature the advertisers’ proprietary characters. Sponsored Stickers are available

globally and downloadable during a pre-determined period of time for free by users who add the

sponsor as their LINE friend. We charge the advertisers fees based on the number of Sponsored

Stickers offered by them as well as a Sticker design fee. Advertisers may add an advertisement on

our virtual Sticker shop for an additional fee, as well as offer “Sponsored Themes” that customize

the look of the LINE messaging application using the advertisers’ proprietary characters.

LINE Point Ads.

We offer “LINE Point Ads” to our advertisers which enable our users to receive

LINE Points for free upon downloading certain applications, watching certain video commercials

created by our advertisers or adding certain Official Accounts as LINE friends. We charge

advertisers a fee per specific action taken by our users. Prior to May 2016, LINE Point Ads were

referred to as LINE Free Coins


I wonder if this “paid” part includes the stickers that were gotten free through other means (adding sponsor as friend during limited time). That would boost that number up a bit to come back into line with our estimated 10% of users in the model.

Otherwise we need to bring it down. Either way, if we can grow a userbase providing a quality messaging service, then stickers will be used by a meaningful subset of them.

I don’t think so. They also separate the categories in the Revenue section. Revenue from sponsored stickers is Account advertising.

“monthly paying users” or “MPUs” in a given month refers to the number of user accounts that
made (i) a payment for Stickers, Themes or LINE Out on the LINE messaging application through
mobile devices or personal computers or (ii) a payment relating to any LINE Game through mobile
devices, in each case at least once during that month;”

Also worth noting that a themes market might be an interesting future use case.

From reading the actual report the category Line management seems most excited about is games, even though it is not the largest category for them, they seem to think it has the most potential for growth.

if that’s the case, Dapps is a large use case for Status, but how we pipe SNT utility into that is a whole different discussion.

One thing to consider is Line is focused on Asia and from what I gathered considers it’s growth opportunity expanding into games.

I did not come across plans to expand to Europe and the Americas which I think could be two things. Either Stickers are an Asian cultural phenomenon and in other markets would be much less popular or Line is overlooking a big opportunity.

I’d think the former, based on the mascot culture in asian countries. granted, bitmojis are quite popular in the states.