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Google Wants to Add Twitch to YouTube for Live and Social TV

Why Google Wants to Hitch Twitch and YouTube Variety


Think about what YouTube could do with Twitch: Users could watch the Oscars, the Super Bowl or “Dancing With the Stars” — with voiceover commentary from their favorite personalities and a highly interactive set of social features.

Of course, getting to that point would require participation of the traditional TV networks. But as long as they can generate ad revenue, something like Twitch for TV would be a no-brainer. As McQuivey noted: “Live programming is the thing keeping the hopes of the TV industry alive right now.”

It’s worth pointing out that when Twitch first launched, videogame publishers were wary about the service. “Twitch was a hard sell in the early days,” VP of marketing Matt DiPietro said in an interview this week. “People could not wrap their heads around this.” The industry has come around now — big time — and game companies see Twitch as a fantastic promo and lead-generation tool. (DiPietro would not comment on YouTube’s play for Twitch.)

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This use of Twitch -- to broadcast live events like sports, award shows, and TV programs -- is what really excites me. Twitch has demonstrated it can broadcast at scale; now Google can bring the content.


And yes, amazingly and the videogame version of Twitch that first launched I now see as necessary first steps on the path for Twitch to become a mainstream broadcasting platform.

Double excellent!

One use of Twitch that I have heard gets audience but I haven't seen anything written about is broadcasting movies and TV shows to a group of friends on a private channel. Such as streaming the latest Game of Thrones.

I also learned that Twitch is the second spinout from; Socialcam was the first:

A billion dollar sale of Twitch would make it one of the most successful YCombinator companies ever.

Too bad Google / YouTube does not own Oculus or these broadcasts could be immersive, too.

Perhaps the Google acquisition is not a done deal and Facebook is making a counteroffer?

A lot of Twitch usage right now is "reply girls":

Google is reportedly close to a deal to buy Twitch, the streaming video service, for $1 billion, and make it part of YouTube. Twitch is a platform where gamers can watch other gamers play video games, but that’s not the only attraction. As Buzzfeed notes, more than half of the most-watched videos on the site feature a handful of young women who habitually play in low-cut tank tops, with the camera positioned just so. This kind of thing:

Twitch reply girl cleavage cam meme imgur Screenshot 2014-05-20 at 8.05.00 AM

With screen names like Kaceytron (pictured) and KneeColeslaw, these women have six-figure followings, whom they can hit up for subscription fees and donations. Kaceytron’s donation page explains her terms:  ”Donations of $1 or more trigger the sound. I try to read donations on stream as much as possible, however, if I am busy in a game I may miss it.”

It’s no secret that prominently displayed cleavage in a thumbnail preview is a foolproof way to get people (presumably mostly men) to click. YouTube knows this only too well. A few years ago, it wrestled with the issue of what were known as “reply girls.” As defined by Know Your Meme, ”‘Reply Girls,’ are female YouTubers who are known for uploading videos in response to an already popular or trending video in an attempt to capitalize on the high view counts. They typically use sexually suggestive thumbnails, often with prominently exposed cleavage, to solicit views.”

Thanks to YouTube’s Partner Program, the more popular reply girls didn’t have to solicit donations to make serious money. But they were viewed as spam, both by users and the network itself. YouTube tried tinkering with its algorithm, adjusting the weight of factors like time spent watching to drive reply-girl videos down in suggested results, but eventually it just ended up scrapping the video response feature that enabled them altogether.

Downsides of a YouTube Twitch deal:

Before news of this potential deal, Twitch seemed like something of a monopoly in the livestreaming space, where YouTube has been equally unchallenged in recorded video. When asking who could pose a threat to either service, YouTube was getting pretty good with their own livestreaming technology and seemed like they were starting to encroach on Twitch’s territory. And if Twitch could get a handle on its own player/recorded videos, perhaps they could have hoped to make a dent in YouTube’s armor someday.

But now? If the two became one, all of that would be out the window. Neither would have to compete with the other, and even if they were tackling different aspects of video initially, they’d merge into some sort of invincible uber-portal.

The other immediate issue is what becomes of Twitch’s stable of streamers. How would the YouTube deal affect current contracts with those who make a living streaming games? Even if those agreements stay in place, there could be ramifications in terms of what content can actually be streamed. Specifically, YouTube is notorious for its auto-takedowns and copyright strikes for unlicensed music. Twitch streamers often either play games containing copyrighted music, or they play their own tunes in the background. A sudden switchover to YouTube could result in an iron first slamming down on streamers used to more lax policies at Twitch.

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