How Amazon Changed Twitch Live Streaming

Live streaming has become one of
the most popular forms of online entertainment today. Sites like Twitch, YouTube and
Mixer are capitalizing on a trend of live streaming and
merging another form of media video games. The video game industry was a
$138 billion market in 2013 and there’s one live streaming
platform that is beating out the competition for life
streaming gaming Twitch. The Super Bowl maybe gets let’s
call it 50 to 100 million views for that you know online
or on alone gets that every single tournament. It’s hundreds of millions of
people it’s very global it’s every single tournament is highly
viewed so that scale is is absolutely staggering and
it’s only going up. The site has over
3 million monthly streamers. And at one point Twitch generated
so much hype that both Google and Amazon were trying
to acquire the site Twitch is one the
biggest live streaming platforms. It’s viewed as a top
choice for many content creators looking to build a following. So being live every single day
I was able to like build connections with people in a
much more personal level and at a faster pace than
I did with other platforms. When I first started streaming
like beginning of high school. So that was like around
six or seven years ago, Twitch wasn’t even
big back then. They had like a couple of
thousand viewers maybe the top streamers and I was like wow
people like watching them play games. They chat about
so I started streaming. In 2018. Twitch had the sixth highest
traffic for streaming video in the world and in January of
2019 Twitter nearly 1 billion hours of streams watched
on the site. But before Twitch took
the Internet by storm. Launching the careers of
streamers like Tyler Ninja Blevins. The site went by
a different name, Justin TV. Justin TV was launched back in
2007 and it was developed by Justin Kan and Emmett Schear. In its earliest days it was
a site dedicated to broadcasting the life of the
site’s creator Justin Kan. The community that formed around Justin
TV was a little bit more of a reality television
show community as you’d expect. So it was people who
were attracted by the idea. There’s probably about 10,000 people
on the core Justin TV community originally who really wanted
to be part of this sort of social experiment to
share Justin’s life on the Internet and it attracted a
really eclectic group of people we still are in contact
with a lot of them. It was a
really interesting time. Justin TV had a huge following
and saw gamers like Ninja using the platform broadcasting their
gaming in real time. The live streaming service would
eventually pivot to set its sights on the
gaming and eSports community. In June 2011 Twitch was announced
from the same creators as Justin TV and a few years
later Justin TV shut down. During its first year Twitch
had close to 3.2 million unique visitors
a month. But the company would rapidly grow
into the giant that it is today. In 2012, monthly visitors
jumped from 3.2 million to 20 million visitors
and in 2013 Twitch would become the number one video
streaming site in the video game category with 45
million visits a month. So when we got started on Twitch
we had a goal of 25 percent growth a month every month. At the end of six months if
we could keep our growth above 25 percent a month for gaming
content we would commit and if we couldn’t we
would kill the project. And so it was transformational
when we started beating that goal. And I think the thing
about it that was most transformational was this sense that
we were in charge of our own destiny. Twitch skyrocketed to heights that
drew the attention from tech giants Google and Amazon. During this time it was reported
that Google made strides to acquire Twitch. I think the reason why people
are really interested in the company right now is that
they’re surprised when they hear that you know we have so
many people over a million people broadcast gaming every month. But Twitch would grab the
attention to its now parent company Amazon and an all-cash
deal with $970 million. In the run up to being acquired
by Amazon, it was a crazy time at Twitch because we
were growing really fast, everything was breaking all the
time because every system that we had put in place
turned out not to be sufficiently scaled. And we are replacing every
component of the system. We were adding people really fast
because we have so much to do and we were starting
to make money and like we’re trying to get some real
competitive attention from other players who were starting to
think oh maybe this live streaming gaming thing
is a thing. There’s just so much going on and
it was a real relief when we finally finish the process. Twitch Prime has been massive for
us and we never could have done Twitch
Prime without Amazon. Like the ability to let
any Amazon Prime customer get benefits on Twitch and get
benefits for our streamers by upselling people into buying
an Amazon Prime subscription. It’s just a great dynamic. It’s great for our streamers,
it’s great for our viewers, it’s great for us
good for Amazon. But Google did it miss out
completely on the video game streaming scene. Just a year after Amazon
acquired Twitch, YouTube Gaming was launched with a mix between
live streaming and video on demand. Today, YouTube Gaming has
a following of 82 million subscribers. Well with YouTube I’m capable of
editing what I want to say. So it’s a lot more controlled
with the content I want to put out. Whereas on Twitch everything is just
like you know on the spot live entertainment. You’re just kind of put in
the spotlight but like that said a lot of my YouTube content
is just like VODs from my Twitch just edited into
a nice contact format. The good thing about YouTube though
is I can plan things ahead and I can get you know
four or five videos ready to be uploaded and I could go and
take a vacation if I wanted to or go on a trip
and have those videos uploaded. But when it comes to Twitch you
kind of have to be there every single day to
keep the momentum going. Even though YouTube is one the
top video websites in the world. It still hasn’t drawn in as
many eyeballs as Twitch when it comes to live
streaming gaming,. I think Twitch is a
little bit more mature. Just because it’s more
focused on live streaming and they’ve been doing live
long than anyone else. So the tools are more fully baked,
they’re more developed, there’s more of them. But YouTube Gaming is making
some serious strides to catch up with Twitch. YouTube is close, so certainly I think they are Twitch’s most potent competitor today. Twitch is more mature,
more focused on live, YouTube has its big advantages in other areas. Since its beginnings Twitch has
evolved from its eSports and gaming roots. It’s now into
professional sports. Back in 2018 Twitch announced
it would be broadcasting Thursday night football games
for the NFL. In partnership with Amazon Prime,
we have Thursday night football on Twitch
and that’s awesome. It’s been really cool
particularly to watch co-streaming Thursday night football. This is something that we invented
on Twitch to enable our streamers to help create the
experience and to become effectively new commentators
for football. The viewers really liked it,
streamers have gotten super excited about it. We’ve gotten tons of
outreach from streamers other new streamers wanting to do it
and I think it’s actually pointing to a new way to
do sports in a multiplayer entertainment context. But it’s not just the NFL
taking notice of Twitch’s value. Big brands are jumping
onto the Twitch bandwagon. Brands have a number of
different ways to integrate themselves on Twitch whether
it’s brand deals with streamers ad space
on the site. Some brands even have
their own twitch channel. When it comes down to it,
Old Spice they’ve done many things. I think they had a
squid a robotic squid that they partnered with some Twitch streamers
to help push one of the most recent launches
to the game. I think Overwatch just signed
Coca-Cola to events based sponsorship. The brands that we
see the most successful are the brands that either take on
an event sponsorship or take on a stream or really say
this we’re gonna own this space. But it’s not just the big
brands they’re making money from Twitch. It’s also the
community of gamers too. There are over 3 million
monthly broadcasters a month on the site and 27,000 of
them are Twitch Partners Twitch Partners are streamers that can
make money through paid subscriptions, bits, ads
and sponsorships and merchandising. You can then donate bits to
the person that you’re watching and those started one bit all the
way up to a million bits. And the way that works is
I think for every $1.40 you get 100 bits. The stream that you’re then
you know donating to for instance gets a portion of
that revenue, the rest goes Twitch. Fans can pay $5 to $10 or even
$25 a month to subscribe to a Twitch Partner streamer. Twitch Partners are streamers that
have a sizable audience and stream either
part or full-time. Subscriptions are tiered starting I
think at the bottom is $4.99 where you can subscribe
to streamers who are your favorite right and then a portion
of that stream money goes to Twitch and a portion of
that is subscriber money goes to the streamer themselves. And once it got to a point
where it was sustainable and I could do Twitch full-time, pay
the bills, that’s when I really started creating and solidifying
a schedule that was more your typical eight hour workdays
five to six days a week. So what is it about Twitch
that makes people tune in? With almost 1 billion hours
of Twitch content watched by users in January of 2019. A majority of these live
streams are dedicated to watching people play games like: Fortnite,
League of Legends and Apex Legends. In fact, Fortnite was so big
on Twitch it had its own convention hall Twitch’s yearly
expo called Twitch Con. But tuning into your favorite
streamer and watching them play popular games isn’t the only
drive as to why people watch Twitch streamers. A lot of it has to
do with the psychology behind Twitch. So research conducted by Sjoblom, out
at all on a number of reasons why Twitch
is so popular. So the first reason they
find something called information seeking. So this is simply going
to Twitch to watch someone play a video game who’s very
good at it because they want to learn themselves how to
be good at the game. The second reason they
identified with something called tension release and this is the
idea that someone may have had a difficult day at work, they
may have had a hard day at school so they get to come
home, they got to put on a Twitch stream and they get to
be entertained by someone who is very entertaining themselves but
also playing a fun game. Twitch is a site that has
a community of users who aren’t just tuning in but are
actively engaging with each other. Someone donated to the streamer saying
you know I’m in a great mood. I’m going to pass on the
love because I recently just got engaged and everyone the streamer
and the audience watching you they’re were all like
you know congratulations, I’m so happy for you that’s
brilliant to hear. And when you dissect that you
think about the fact that this person got engaged and their instinct
may have been to tell their family then to tell their friends
and now we are at a stage and Twitch where their next
step was to tell their favorite streamer. And that’s incredible to think
of what turned up social bond. Back when Twitch first launched
it had over 3,000 Twitch Partners on the site. 300,000 broadcasters each month
and 72 billion minutes watched. But in 2018, Twitch
had 27000 partners, 3.4 million broadcasters and over
560 billion minutes watched. So what does the future
of Twitch look like? As competition heats up I think we
always try to do the same thing. Which is to go back
to making sure you’re nailing the basics. When you feel like there is
a lot of competition around. The most important thing is to
make sure you’re nailing the very core needs and not spending
too much of your time getting distracted by shiny new
things you could build in the future and you pay attention
to the core and you make sure you’re paying attention to
your customers and that they are getting the
best possible service. Because every Twitch streamer has a
choice where they go and we’re very grateful that they
choose to stream on us. But we’re also very aware that
we’re not the only people you can do it on and
I actually think that’s healthy I think it’s good. I wouldn’t want Twitch to be
the only place you can stream live video. I think it would be good
for our streamers and I actually don’t think it would be good
for Twitch in the long run. I think you get lazy and
sloppy when you don’t have any competition. And I think I’m excited to
see what competitors launch all of the time because sometimes
they innovate on things. I like to think
we innovate the most.

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