Company / division: Twitch
Amazon’s Twitch Adding New Features on Mobile App (Jun 29, 2017)
Amazon’s Twitch streaming service is adding a bunch of new features to its streaming app in July, something I missed yesterday. The big addition is streaming live video (though not the usual gameplay video) from the mobile app itself, something which will be useful for direct-to-camera or other vlogging-type content which Twitch is trying to push as it expands beyond its core historical gaming video roots. Twitch also touted 83m downloads of its app, though with just under 10m daily active users, that number feels a bit irrelevant, and merely highlights the fairly small percentage of people who’ve tried the app who use it daily. The 9.7m daily active user number is also a great illustration of how niche a video platform Twitch remains, though it’s clearly very important to the users it does have: they spend an average of 106 minutes per day on the site, which is huge. But given YouTube’s recent 1.5 billion monthly user announcement, it’s clear that Twitch is still a marginal player in the overall video space, even if it’s a much more significant one in the gaming segment specifically. Something else I’d never really looked at before but is stark once you do look is the fact that there’s basically no sign anywhere on Twitch that it has anything to do with Amazon, even on the About page. So it’s clear that, though Amazon likely has some integration plans in mind longer term, for now it’s very much running as a separate independent entity, much as Zappos always has in the e-commerce space.
YouTube and Netflix Dominate Teens’ Video Viewing (May 2, 2017)
Facebook, Amazon, Twitter and YouTube are bidding to stream the NFL’s Thursday night games – Recode (Mar 24, 2017)
When Twitter won these rights last time around in their first year as a separate set from television rights, it turned out to be something very different from what many of us expected. Rather than a massive splurge on a very valuable set of rights, it turned out that the winner merely got the right to show the games along with advertising mostly already sold by broadcasters, meaning there was very little additional revenue opportunity, and as such Twitter got the rights for a paltry $10 million. These NFL games have actually been a good fit with Twitter’s overall live strategy, which has mostly been focused on winning audiences rather than lots of new revenue, but it seems others are interested in taking another crack this year. It would obviously fit well with Facebook’s recent push into professionally produced live video, but also with YouTube’s recent investment in e-sports rights and with Amazon’s foray into TV bundles and Twitch video streaming. It’s less of a good fit with Apple’s current focus in the TV space, so it’s not surprising that its name doesn’t appear here. I’ll be very interested to see if the NFL is pitching the same kind of package as last time or whether the winning bidder will have the right to sell more of its own ads this time around.
E-sports are one of the few where the TV and digital rights aren’t sewn up for years to come, and so they’ve become a battleground for big digital players, with Amazon buying Twitch and YouTube now stealing one of its most high-profile, high-quality content deals. This is a big step for YouTube, which has dabbled with various bits of live sports in the past but has never had a really high-profile deal. It’s obviously not going to deliver NFL-like viewing numbers, but it’s a good test of YouTube’s commitment to live video and sports.
Another reminder that Amazon has a much broader future in mind for Twitch than just gaming videos – it’s paying out of pocket to stream the Power Rangers TV series in a free marathon over the course of 17 days. Its investments in TV content for Twitch have mostly been very small (and often somewhat obscure) in relation to its original content and other investments for Prime Video, but they seem to be building steam. And as this piece points out, Power Rangers is probably a better fit for the core Twitch audience than old Bob Ross or Julia Child shows.
In my last post about Twitch just over a week ago I described Amazon’s acquisition of the site as one of the most interesting it’s made, and talked about the two separate tracks it’s pursued with Twitch: deepening the gamer focus on the one hand, and using it as a jumping off point for other things on the other. This news is yet another example of the latter strategy, in which Twitch is being used as a platform for creating a Twitter- or Facebook-like feed of content from brands and creators. For now, that’s not going to have mainstream appeal beyond the core Twitch audience, but as Twitter also continues to evolve into something more like YouTube, that could actually become very interesting. In reality, of course, what’s missing for now is the social side – it sounds like this is mostly a one-way feed from creators to followers. But there’s no reason it couldn’t evolve into a more social or two-way following relationship between regular users as well, even if they’re not regularly posting gaming videos. Between Twitch and Echo, it’s starting to feel like Amazon has the beginnings of some really interesting and potentially powerful extensions to its ecosystem well beyond its current focus areas.
Amazon’s Twitch acquisition was one of the most interesting it’s made, and one of the few big ones it’s made which weren’t in the e-commerce space. Since the acquisition, it’s pursued two separate tracks with Twitch, one focused on the core gamer space it’s always served, and the second broadening its reach and appeal beyond gaming and becoming something of a YouTube clone. This announcement belongs in that first strand, though it also ties in the online sales angle by putting a buy button next to video game video encouraging viewers to buy the game being played in the video. This is a unique take on the ad revenue sharing model YouTube popularized, and could be pretty lucrative for at least some channel owners over time. It’s also a great way to provide very relevant advertising around a video platform, something that’s often tough to do beyond broad demographic profiling.
via The Verge