Twitch Expands Further Into Creative Content With The Debut Of A New Section …

29 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Twitch Creative livestreaming finds new audiences for artists and musicians.

The Amazon-owned video game streaming site Twitch is doubling down on what the company says has been a rapidly growing source of non-gaming videos on its site: creative content. Twitch is best know as the world’s biggest live-streaming platform for video games, a place where casual gamers and high-profile e-sports teams broadcast their action for millions of fans.

My parents knew that if they wanted thirty minutes of child-free silence, they’d switch on that quiet guy with the afro and I’d be freaking spellbound, up until every last titanium white cloud. Twitch, the online streaming service focused heavily on games, will run a marathon stream of every episode of that 80s/90s classic, “The Joy of Painting.” The service will show all 403 episodes from Oct. 29 to Nov. 6 on its own dedicated channel, as a celebration of Ross’ birthday. Today, Twitch is launching a dedicated landing page for this type of content, aimed at increasing video views and improving discovery for streams focused on activities like painting, illustrations, songs, costumes, and even glass blowing. Well today, Twitch announced it’s channeling that same appeal in its new service, which lets users zone out as they watch videos of artists making art. But the 2 million people who watch them each month are a fraction of Twitch’s more than 100 million users, most of whom visit to watch people play video games.

Twitch on Thursday unveiled Twitch Creative, a section of its main site devoted to painters, sculptors, digital artists and musicians who are creating art while others watch and make suggestions. It’s called Twitch Creative: Partnering with Adobe, Twitch announced today it has launched a new vertical that lets users watch artists instead of gamers. The section evolved out of the growing number of painters, sculptors, sewers and other artists who’ve turned to the live-streaming social media service to share their passions for art. The new initiative makes a link to such artistic videos more visible and allows art broadcasters to use hashtags to improve discoverability of their content.

Although some of the artistic works are game-inspired, Twitch Creative marks the first time the Amazon-owned company is branching into an area that isn’t purely about video games. Creative content has been supported on Twitch for well over a year, but it was something that gamers would post to their own channels, which could make it hard to find. Twitch also is hiring workers and considering building tools to cater to artists. “The passion I see in these broadcasters reminds me of the early days of Twitch with the gaming community,” Moorier said, referring to people such as Geers_art and Vieparlafoi who are live-streaming their manufacturing process. Twitch videos are organized by game, and two years ago, Moorier started collecting data on Twitch’s art community by asking it to post to a made-up game called “Creative.” Time spent viewing “Creative” videos has grown 40% each month over the previous month for nearly a year. Twitch spun out of an online video company in 2011 after executives noticed that gamers liked to watch how others played so they could learn strategies or about new games.

Tune into any of the dozens of streamers who already broadcast their art in real-time on Twitch, and it’s hard not to think of Ross as they talk through what they’re doing for the benefit of their viewership. While apps such as Pinterest, DeviantArt and Etsy provide a platform for people to showcase or sell works, none supports streaming the development process, Moorier said. That’s still a smaller portion of Twitch’s overall community – the site has 100 million monthly visitors, and 1.7 million broadcasters, 12,000 of whom are partners monetizing their channel through ads, subscriptions, and/or merchandise. Back in 2007, Twitch spun off from the YouTube-like, live-streaming site called Justin.TV, when the company noticed that there was a huge community of people sharing videos of video game conquests.

The new Twitch Creative section, which will be visible on the web and mobile, will have its own directory and a carousel to highlight the most interesting content in that category. And so, Twitch was born. (As Bob Ross would say, it was a happy accident.) In the Twitch Creative press release, the company calls such videos “live social video.” Video game-watching videos have also been popular on YouTube for years, often called “Let’s Play .” It’s a solid, and lucrative, formula: Twitch was scooped up by Amazon for $1 billion last year.

People began streaming other art making, including costumes and glass sculptures. “There are all kinds of paintings, sketches, model-making, sculpting, even electronics and robotics,” he said. “This is our way of embracing that community.” This week, for example, a channel called Inkings and Layerings featured a graphic artist using Photoshop tools to create a Halloween-themed painting. And as Jimmy Kimmel learned the hard way, people really like watching others do things like play games, and Google knows this: YouTube even announced its own Gaming app for video game video viewers, set to launch later this year. As Moorier started chatting with these people, he saw that not only was this kind of stream growing at a fantastic rate, but also diversifying. “People were not just doing game-related art anymore. The launch coincides with former TV personality Bob Ross’ birthday, and Twitch will consecutively air the 403 episodes of his popular PBS show “The Joy of Painting” over the next 8½ days.

Twitch Creative already has 2 million viewers a month. “It’s a place to broadcast your creative process,” said Morrier. “Any act of creation that winds up in a tangible work can be included, like painting, sculpture, or a song. Seeing the potential for this new vertical, Twitch has hired a community manager for Creative, Kyle “MonkeyOnStrike” Reddington, who was already an established artist using Twitch.

Twitch has fast-become a household name among gamers, but faces heavy competition from other tech firms looking to expand their live-streaming options. It’s also, oddly, giving Twitch some competition in the Bob Ross department: earlier this week, 13 episodes from the first season of Ross’s show became available for streaming on his show’s YouTube channel.

Moorier says that while the overall audience and broadcaster base of Twitch has been growing around 20 percent month over month, the creative community was growing at nearly double that pace. Artists will be able to put hashtags in their broadcast titles, providing viewers an intuitive way to browse and discover channels based on their preferences. It is partnering with artists from the Twitch community on its Creative channel to provide a full schedule of programming, inviting everyone to get inspired by the amazing things creative people can do. The Google-owned video network has more recently been expanding into the gaming space as well, with the launch of its YouTube Gaming application, and just yesterday, a new tool to allow Android users to record and comment on their videos then publish to YouTube.

While Twitch says that it only launched this new section on the site in response to growth it was seeing, the addition could have another advantage as well. YouTube rolled out a gaming app that focuses on live content, while Twitch rolled out new ways for creators to upload and catalog a library of videos after a live broadcast. They inspire us,” said Mark Randall, the vice president of creativity at Adobe, in a statement. “We are thrilled to help showcase the incredible work people are doing – and share their creative spark.” Darren Geers, who broadcasts on Twitch Creative as Geers_art, is a digital painter and illustrator. While today, Twitch’s user base is predominantly male – reflective of gaming culture overall – the demographic mix on creative channels is more evenly balanced, we’re told. With Twitch Creative, the service is hoping to stake a claim to a much broader swath of broadcaster, diversifying its business beyond the world of gaming which it now dominates.

Morrier said that streamers are showing how to create watercolors, 3D models, and digital art. “The creative section on Twitch is a gathering place to do something that is not gaming related,” Geers, a 33-year-old Michigan resident, said in an interview. “I create things for broadcasters, like emoticons and background art.” Geers is putting up to 60 hours a week into illustrating, with much of it broadcast live on his channel. What he likes about the live broadcasting is the ability to answer questions live. “The teaching element is the biggest draw of live art,” Geers said. “I walk them through how to learn different drawing techniques, and answer as best as I can.” Other artists include Evilfx (professional prop/costume artist), SceneOfActionMusic (music category with bright future composer) and Vieparlafoi (glass artist). “As we’ve watched our beta Music category take shape, among the most popular broadcasts are musicians creating original compositions,” adds Morrier. “Since the specific act of crafting a song is as much a form of art as the other content under the Creative category, it made sense to migrate this singular use case over.”

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