YouTube rolls out more monetization options at VidCon

TL;DR - This year’s VidCon was full of new feature announcements and the expansion of monetization opportunities for the platform’s creators.  YouTube shared that its Super Chat feature has risen to become the top revenue source for almost 20,000 channels, with over 90,000 using the feature platform-wide.  Building on that, they’ve added Super Stickers - animated chat stickers to demonstrate support for creators. Membership levels were also unveiled, which gives creators the ability to set five different membership price points, complete with unique perks for each level.  Merchandising options are being expanded to include Rooster Teeth, Crowdmade, Fanjoy, and others. Another major announcement concerns how YouTube will be handling copyright infringement on the platform, a very hot issue. Copyright owners will now need to specify an exact time in the video the infringement occurred.  Content creators can then use the YouTube Creator Studio to quickly remove the infringing content from their videos.

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StreamElements releases its State of the Stream report for Q2

TL;DR - StreamElements latest quarterly report revealed nearly 75% of all Twitch viewership is concentrated within the platform’s top 5000 channels.  The average concurrent viewership for those channels was up 12% in the second quarter versus earlier in the year. Twitch remains the platform of choice for live-stream viewers, with four times as many hours watched compared to number two, YouTube.  Over 72% of all live-streamed hours watched are consumed on Twitch, versus just under 20% on YouTube. Notably, Facebook Gaming has overtaken Mixer for the number three spot, at just over 5% of total share. There’s also been a lot of volatility at the top of Twitch, with a different streamer claiming the number one position every month.

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Apex Legends Season 2 fails to deliver for EA

TL;DR - Battle Charge, the title for Apex Legends’ second season, brought changes to the map, the introduction of a new character, ranked queue, new weapons, and an improved battle pass.  Combined, that’s done little to improve the game’s Twitch viewership. While the game peaked at nearly 674,000 viewers at launch, since the Season 2 update it’s been unable to clear 50,000 viewers.  EA isn’t coming out of this unscathed either, with its stock price down almost 9% in the week since the update landed.

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Douyu IPO back in the works despite delay

TL;DR - Chinese streaming platform Douyu was slated for its US IPO earlier this year but put those plans on hold due to the pending trade war between China and the US.  This week, the company filed to offer nearly 45 million American depository shares, with another 22.5 million coming from the company’s existing investors. Douyu is hoping to raise nearly a billion USD through the IPO.  Douyu is partly owned by Tencent Holdings, which also has major stakes in publishers Riot Games, Bluehole, and others. Those interested in investing can find Douyu under the ticker symbol DOYU on the NASDAQ.

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Riot shares streamer list for Twitch Rivals Teamfight Tactics tourney

TL;DR - Riot revealed this week the exact format and rules for its upcoming Teamfight Tactics Twitch Rivals tournament.  The bulk of the $125k prize pool will be awarded based on the first day’s placements, with the remaining portioned out to the individuals taking the top spots on the following day.  Additionally, Riot has shared the list of participating streamers. It’s a who’s-who list of Twitch, including, among others: Forsen, Scarra, Trump, Dyrus, and TheOddOne. The tournament runs from July 17-18, and will feature 64 streamers in total.

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TSM may be lining up a streaming deal for its China entry

TL;DR - Team SoloMid, the second most valuable esports org on the planet, has committed to establish itself in the Chinese market by 2020.  At a conference this week, TSM CEO Andy Dinh said his org will be looking to pick up Chinese teams within the next calendar year. In addition to esports, TSM will be translating and subtitling its content sooner rather than later.  TSM’s revenue last year was around $25M, and it’s been valued as high as $250M. Whether it’s Huya, Douyu, or another streaming partner, TSM is keeping silent on who it will be partnering with to execute its China strategy.

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Caffeine selected as an official streaming partner for Riot’s LCS

TL;DR - In a non-exclusive arrangement, Riot has selected streaming platform Caffeine as an official partner for its NA LCS.  The deal runs through the current Summer Split, playoffs, finals, and regional qualifiers. Caffeine streamers will be permitted to shoutcast and host the official LCS broadcast on the platform as well, creating new ways for their fans and communities to engage with the content.

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Dedicated gaming and streaming services section comes to Fiverr

TL;DR - Fiverr’s new gaming and streaming services section includes listing options for development and design, modeling, animation, voiceover work, writing, Q&A, stream coaching, editing, and more.  Streamers looking to pick up overlays can already score them for around $5 through the platform.

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In case you missed it…

We’ve shared a lot recently about how brands are promoting and advertising in the live-streaming space.  If you follow our content you’ll know we’re a bit critical of how these advertisements have played out, so this week I wanted to bring you something brand-related that’s more on the positive side.

I’ve been meaning to share this article from Digiday but over these past several weeks, as I’ve compiled content for The Roundup. I kept coming across other stories that pushed this further down the list.  While it’s imperative that brands advertising via live streams invest the time, money, and energy into native integrations, what about brands whose product is their content?  That brings us to publishers.

It makes all the sense in the world that if you’re publishing content you should be looking at live-streaming as a delivery mechanism.  The Digiday article calls out The Washington Post, Cheddar, and BuzzFeed for their live-streaming. The Wa-Po is a given considering it’s owned by Jeff Bezos (Amazon, Twitch, etc.) but, to a similar degree, so do Cheddar and BuzzFeed.  Say what you will about the content on these platforms, there’s no arguing their popularity and their ability to connect well with Twitch’s demographic.

Consider also how many times you’ve read a piece of news and wanted to ask the author a question about the story.  Twitch streams are the perfect vehicle for that sort of critical interaction. They’re effectively taking content that would otherwise be consumed passively, making it interactive, and inviting involvement that will reap rewards indefinitely.  

Phoebe Connelly, deputy director of video at the Wa-Po, put it best when she said “...Twitch is extremely long-form”.  Anyone who streams consistently can attest to that. For publishers and content creators, that’s precisely the kind of platform you want to be heavily engaged in.  The longer form the content the more opportunity to form deeper, more meaningful connections with the audience.

It’s also important, as Connelly points out, to be honest about the types of content better suited to different platforms.  Indeed, Twitch is not TikTok. The more common comparison is Twitch and YouTube. And they couldn’t be more different. There’s a mountain of anecdotal evidence to indicate taking unedited, live Twitch streams and dumping them on YouTube is borderline time wasted.  The YouTube audience is looking for produced content, even if only lightly so.  I’ve tried watching unedited VoDs on YouTube as a test and it’s agonizing.  Especially if you’re coming from the Twitch ecosystem. You want to interact.  You want to hit that chat panel and you want to participate with the community.  It’s not just a waste of time, it’s a frustrating waste of time!

So it’s encouraging to see publishers like these acknowledging the need to remain cognisant of these differences.  Publishers are more poised for success on live-streaming platforms than any product-oriented brand at the moment, including endemic brands.  And there’s ample opportunity for publishers to collaborate with streamers, just as we’ve advocated product peddling brands do. We like what we see and we want to see more of it!

There’s your ray of sunshine in an otherwise overcast, ad-filled, sky.