Twitch will stream every episode of Bob Ross’ ‘Joy of Painting’

29 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Twitch Creative livestreaming finds new audiences for artists and musicians.

As a kid, Bob Ross and The Joy of Painting on PBS was my kryptonite. 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. The category is now getting its own dedicated landing page under the Twitch Creative header and is now officially recognized as a content area the brand is actively supporting. 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. To honor the memory of one of the most popular and influential artists to grace the television screen, Twitch is launching the new category on Bob Ross’ birthday. 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.

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. All 403 episodes will be broadcast on Twitch from October 29-November 6 on “The Creative community was born from the gaming community on Twitch, as top broadcasters began broadcasting creation of fan art during gameplay down time,” said Bill Morrier, Head of Twitch Creative. “This attracted more broadcasters to the platform whose primary focus was on artistic endeavors. 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.

Unique to the Creative category, Twitch enables artists to put hashtags in their broadcast titles, providing viewers an intuitive way to browse and discover channels based on their preferences. 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. Moorier said that some creative streamers already pull in more than of 2 million viewers per month, adding that the section of the site has recently started growing by about 40 percent per month, each month. 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. They are partnering with artists from the Twitch community on their Creative channel at to provide a full schedule of programming, inviting everyone to get inspired by the amazing things creative people can do. “Creativity belongs to everyone.

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 company became Twitch Interactive in 2014, with a primary focus on gaming, and was bought by Amazon later that year after a nearly $1 billion acquisition. “We’re seeing exactly what happened at the beginning of Twitch,” Moorier said. “We’re just stepping in a shining a light” on something that’s already taking off on its own, he said. It was everything from Photoshop to really traditional oil and watercolor, even glass blowing and sculpture.” The main Twitch homepage will now include a tab labeled Creative.

Twitch has fast-become a household name among gamers, but faces heavy competition from other tech firms looking to expand their live-streaming options. To further the brand’s commitment to the art community, Kyle “MonkeyOnStrike” Reddington–one of the category’s established artists–was recently hired as Creative’s new community manager. 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.

Right now this subset of Twitch has about a thousand active creators and 2 million monthly viewers. “We wanted a way to promote and bring attention to up-and-coming channels that we think have great talent and potential,” says Moorier. 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.

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.

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