h hugely popular and serve as an incentive for
viewers to subscribe to streamers’ channels.
Cheering is another way streamers gener-
ate revenue. Cheering lets viewers use ani-
mated emotes that are purchased or won from
Twitch to cheer on their favorite gamers, and
the cheer emotes are available in different bit
levels. Gamers get them and give them for
all sorts of interactions, with 100 bits costing
$1.40 to buy. Some streamers even have char-
ity matching events based on bit donations.
Twitch is constantly trying out new monetization opportunities. Previously, streamers
could produce their own T-shirts or personalized products to sell using a vendor Twitch
worked with. That program was discontinued,
but now streamers can get a commission when
their viewers buy any of the games they promote or the gear they recommend via Amazon.
One value espoused by almost everyone who
talks about Twitch is that it’s a positive community where streamers and viewers alike find a
place where they are accepted for their activities and interests. Twitch’s terms of service
and community guidelines state what’s permissible. Individual broadcasters can also set
their own specific rules for their channels. A
typical set of rules might include some of the
following: Do not be rude, vulgar, racist, or sexist; don’t bully; do not talk ill toward subscribers and those that donate; please refrain from
talking about politics that aren’t relevant to the
stream; or do not complain about bans or time-outs. All offenses are subject to bans without
any prior warning.
Twitch enables broadcasters to enforce their
own rules by giving them several moderation
options. There are tools that allow broadcasters to ban specific words or links, and to enforce time-outs or to ban individuals. They also
have AutoMod, which uses machine learning
and natural-language processing to identify and
block sexually explicit, aggressive, and profane
content. “Creators [can] assign a moderator to
police their chat and a 24/7/365 human moderation team [is available[ to respond to reports
of inappropriate behavior,” says Aragon. When
rules won’t work? “We feature detailed guides
in our online Help Center regarding how to
manage harassment in chat and how to file a
report” ( go2sm.com/harassment).
“If broadcasters are looking to make streaming their livelihood, then they will do a lot of research to increase viewability and engagement,”
says Lee Massie, who was, until recently, head of
business of development at Muxy. Muxy is one
of the third-party developers that is creating the
new technologies broadcasters need to provide
a more sophisticated, interactive experience
through polls, leaderboards, virtual pets, in-
teractive overlays, mini games, music playlists,
and game-specific tools. This new program that
enables all this is called Twitch Extensions.
This approach to technology development is
very Twitch-like, where the community is a very
active participant in directing what’s needed.
Twitch is publishing its Extensions roadmap to
show what’s in the works. When asked about
how the company will be reimbursing devel-
opers at a developer event in September, Ryan
Lubinski, senior product manager at Twitch,
replies, “We’d love to hear your idea if you’re
a streamer or developer around what kind of
business models you’re thinking about.”
Does crowdsourcing key technology tools
make sense? In Twitch’s user-generated world,
it seems to Twitch is multi-faceted—it’s a place
for like-minded viewers to interact, a place
where streamers can make a living streaming,
a test ground for developers to try out new services, a valuable location for advertisers, a vast
source of data collection based on site use, and
a place to experiment with other forms of programming like content syndication and reality
broadcasting. It is also an amazing sandbox for
Amazon to see what works in this new media
paradigm. All of this seems to be contributing
to its growing adoption. “ComScore reported
that Twitch is the 8th most visited site in the U.S.
by average time spent per visitor (March 2017),
up from #18 a year earlier,” says Chase.
Hello World, Meet Twitch
Twitch has shown that viewers like user-generated content with a high level of interaction. The engagement time of almost 2 hours
a day, coupled with well-thought-out monetization options, has shown Twitch has a solid strategy for keeping broadcasters and their audiences happy and in business.
Twitch is now 6 years old and fully focused on
ensuring that future generations will come to the
platform. At the recent Twitch event, the swag