Had to do a little write up of something media related for a team meeting tomorrow. I decided to write about Twitch, because it took the least amount of effort and/or research. If you ever wanted to know a little more about the medium, here you go:
What is Twitch?
Twitch is an online streaming platform, primarily dominated by video games. At its most basic, Twitch allows viewers to log in and watch their favourite professional gamers just play games. There’s a chat function hardwired into the format, whereby viewers can actually start a dialogue with these notable personalities. Owned by Amazon (bought for $970M in 2014), it’s mostly ignored by the mainstream, but concurrently happens to have a steadily growing audience:
Who is Twitch?
Let’s look at some stats quickly.
Top 5 streamers with the most followers:
Ninja – 13.6M
shroud – 5.96M
Tfue – 5.22M
TSM_Myth – 4.92M
summit1g – 3.67M
Streamers with the most viewers (average concurrent past 30 days):
OverwatchLeague – 121K
Riot Games – 58.1K
shroud – 53.7K
CSRuHub – 47.2K
Tfue – 46.6K
Twitch streamers with the most channel views (all time):
Riot Games – 1,105M
ShadbaseMurderTV – 659M
Ninja – 426M
Sarladder1 – 397M
BeyondTheSummit – 386M
When is Twitch?
Always. Twitch doesn’t turn off. Individual streamer schedules vary, but the framework of Twitch is set up to reward networking. Like YouTube personalities, Twitch streamers typically build up interconnected rings/clans/groups for the purposes of mutual cross promotion. A streamer may be online for 5-8 hours, then handshake with another streamer at the conclusion of their broadcast. In short, they’re passing their audience onto a friend, a movie that seeks to keep the viewer on the platform, and can potentially bolster subscribers for each channel.
Not only is Twitch live, but it has a comprehensive VOD section to catch up on past broadcasts. Viewers can even submit clips from the stream, cataloguing highlights and virtually giving free promotion to streamers.
Where is Twitch?
The beauty of Twitch, is that the system is set up with a low barrier to entry. Most of the successful streamers are simply broadcasting from their bedrooms. The production values aren’t high. If you have a USB mic, a camera and maybe some basic lighting, you’re set to go. Having a “professional” operation is accessible, and there’s not much of a ceiling. Green screens and larger production elements aren’t verboten by any means, but as a young medium they have yet to become standard.
Why is Twitch?
You better believe that money is a big part of the equation when it comes to Twitch. First off, subscribers. Subscribers typically pay $5 a month, which translates into a base income for streamers. Not to be confused with Followers, Subscribers usually get some kind of token VIP advantages like custom emotes and whatnot. It’s more of a way for fans to support their favourite streamers as opposed to concrete perks. Donations are also a common part of the economy, whereby viewers will just donate to the streamer in question in any quantity (the largest donation I’ve seen on stream was $2000.00).
There are sponsorships galore, integrated advertising and uncapped marketing potential.
I’m not gonna argue that Twitch is the future of broadcast, but I think it’s worth considering the medium as a path that some broadcast could take. It’s community based, and lowers the barriers between talent and audience. Unlike standard broadcast models, it offers certain amounts of two-way communication with effective immediacy. It has a primarily younger audience, with opportunities for growth. It’s wildly customizable, and innovation is encouraged. At the same time, it’s rife for marketing opportunity. Drake famously did a drop in session with popular streamer Ninja, which opens up all kinds of promotional potential.Twitch, like any good social network medium worth its salt, collects personal information that it can 100% use for marketing purposes.
From a broadcasting perspective, a Twitch style broadcast allows for access to new and different markets. It’s a personality driven medium with incredibly low overheads and high potential. The Just Chatting category also hints at possible simultaneous directions for the format. It’s merely streamers holding court and chatting with their audience. Twitch itself is not revolutionary, but it is an emerging entertainment medium with a lot of untapped potential.
And yes, as a primarily Magic the Gathering viewer, that pun was intentional.