GLOBAL: With the news that BuzzFeed has been trialling news broadcasting on the Amazon-owned platform Twitch, the gaming focus for which it became famous is giving way to a significant potential in a broader social video space.
Earlier this week, Digiday reported that falling Facebook Live views had prompted the digital publisher BuzzFeed to explore the potential of Twitch for a handful of live broadcasts, including coverage of election results and last weekend’s royal wedding in addition to its other live online broadcast channels.
“We’re seeing that start to switch over as more publishers put things other than gaming onto the site,” Buzzfeed’s head of live video, Andrew Kimmel, told Digiday. “It feels like the time is right. Publishers are able to push out streams not directly related to video games to a whole new audience. That’s new territory to explore.”
The platform’s sheer reach is an important consideration in this development, though for direct comparisons with Facebook Live, BuzzFeed will have to wait to gather representative figures, having begun with no fans on Twitch.
Since January, and the launch of Twitch’s IRL – live vlogging – platform, the company has quietly targeted growth in non-gaming content. At the same time, Facebook halted its payments to publishers, which had been intended to spur broadcasting on the platform, at the end of last year; viewing figures have also plateaued.
Other media properties have dabbled in Twitch. Last week, NBC’s long-time US comedy show Saturday Night Live streamed 48 hours of sketches on the platform. In April, it was announced that 11 NFL games will stream live on the platform beginning this autumn.
“Saturday Night Live is funny,” said the Polygon writer Julia Alexander, “but it’s not cool.” In its move to Twitch, she observes a broader shift not only in the way people are watching long-form video, but adding “one of the few engaging ways left to watch something.” It reinvigorates jokes, lending the anonymously social quality of being in a live comedy audience that is its core strength, and perhaps its competitive advantage over other, more identity-fixed platforms.
At a nuts-and-bolts level, Twitch’s advantage is the ability to schedule recorded content, giving broadcasters more opportunities than Facebook Live, which – as the name suggests – can only broadcast live content.
Sourced from Digiday, Variety, Recode, Polygon, WARC