According to a report today by Bloomberg, Amazon-owned Twitch has decided to "aggressively broaden" the programming on the platform to directly compete with YouTube, and gain more advertising revenue in the process. Amazon and Twitch have reportedly pursued exclusive live-streaming deals with "dozens" of popular media companies and personalities who are currently on YouTube.
These deals are said to be worth "as much as a few million dollars a year," and include a share of future advertising sales and subscription revenue. "A few deals have closed," although some approached by Twitch have not agreed to the company's terms, including a minimum amount of hours required to livestream per week.
Despite Twitch's plans to add more non-gaming programming, the company is still focusing on live streaming video.
“There will be a steady drumbeat of lots of new content we’re bringing on,” says Michael Aragon, Twitch Interactive Inc.’s senior vice president of content. “We’re growing well, and that makes us an attractive destination for people looking to do new things in live, interactive entertainment.”When Amazon bought Twitch in 2014, the live streaming service was exclusively focused on video games and didn't let anyone post videos that weren't related to gaming. In recent years, Amazon slightly expanded the scope of the platform with "Twitch Creative," encouraging non-gamers like chefs and artists to stream on Twitch. There have also been marathons of old Saturday Night Live episodes and some live sports.
Despite this introduction of new content, Twitch is still primarily video game-focused today. When browsing the Discover tab on iOS, popular live gaming streams, gaming channels, game clips, and more fill up the space. While Twitch will retain all of the live-streaming features and community of gamers it currently has, today's report suggests that users can expect to see more non-gaming streams in this area down the line.
This "broader video service" expansion appears to have gained even more momentum recently, as Twitch looks to bring people to its platform who might be more susceptible to advertising. As it stands, Twitch's target audience of young male gamers "tend to be resistant to ads." Justin Warden, CEO of e-sports marketing agency Ader Inc., explained that "few brands are excited about reaching an audience of hardcore gamers," but there is interest for "working with an influencer or personality."
YouTube has been losing favor in the creator community for a few years now, most recently causing controversy in May by testing a non-chronological video order in the user's subscription feed. In January, YouTube and Google announced new rules surrounding creator monetization and partnerships, particularly de-monetizing videos that have controversial or inappropriate content. This caused many YouTubers to consider lessening their focus on the platform and look into supplementing their income with other services like Twitch.