Twitch, Amazon's live streaming platform for video game-related content, is looking to expand past its gaming roots. The online video portal is extending a warm welcome to all marketers interested in reaching its dedicated gamer audience, regardless if they're comfortable with a controller or not.
"One of the core principles of Twitch is experimentation," said Matthew DiPietro, vice president of marketing at Twitch. "You have an idea. Give it a shot, get the data. Did the audience like it? Did the content producer get value out of it? That's really the way to look all these different verticals."
Many people first heard of Twitch when Amazon acquired it in August 2014, for $970 million. While Amazon does stream video content through Amazon Prime and Instant Video, before Twitch it lacked a space for user-generated video content like Google's YouTube or IAC's Vimeo.
Twitch has long been known as the main destination online for video game-related content, like live streams of watching someone playing a game or gaming-themed Web series. The site started out as Justin.tv in 2007, a live streaming video platform. Gaming-related content quickly became the most popular category, and the company turned the category into a sister site called Twitch.tv in 2011. Due to Twitch's success, Justin.tv was shuttered in August 2014, to dedicate all resources to it.
While Twitch's 100 million unique monthly visitors pale in comparison to YouTube's more than 1 billion, what it lacks in reach it makes up for in dedication. According to the company, the average Twitch user watches 106 minutes on the site per day or a total of 20 billion minutes per month for all users. Peak concurrent sitewide stats have reached 1.5 million viewers.
"When we launched Twitch and pivoted away from Justin.tv that was an absolute stroke of genius," DiPietro said. "It was really a catalyst for creating this huge entertainment site for people who created a vernacular and culture and a way of existing online and creating content."
Now, Twitch seems to want to take the next steps into more kinds of entertainment content past just gaming. On June 12, Twitch formally announced Twitch Specials, a new advertising offering that allows marketers to showcase branded content and campaigns. Its official first partner was live events producer SFX Entertainment, which streamed the React Presents: Spring Awakening Music Festival in Chicago on June 12 through 14.
Recently, the company had been experimenting with expanding its wheelhouse. It worked with HBO's "Silicon Valley" to do a livestream of the show's pilot alongside the cast in April, and has been actively working with electronic dance music record labels like OWSLA and Dim Mak to bring live streamed music programming to its users.
DiPietro said no matter the content on Twitch, everything will still be created with the gamer consumer in mind. He added the decision to expand to all entertainment content came from within Twitch, not through Amazon.
"We want to bring in nongaming brands in the entertainment space and offer them an opportunity to broadcast their content to Twitch's audience," DiPietro said.