Live-streaming, esports, and gaming news highlights for the week of January 13, 2020
YouTube secures exclusive deals with three more Twitch streamers
TL;DR - Rachel “Valkyrae” Hofstetter announced this week she would be leaving Twitch to stream exclusively on YouTube as part of a multi-year agreement. Along with her also came LazarBeam and Muselk, who’ve collectively amassed over 20M subscribers on YouTube alone. Valkyrae, a member of esports org 100 Thieves, managed to assemble nearly a million followers on Twitch, making this no small departure. As with other notable moves, neither Valkyrae nor her agency revealed the financials behind the deal, but there was speculation it felt just short of $1M per year.
Twitch names former Spotify exec as new head of EMEA marketing
TL;DR - Twitch has hired the former global marketing lead for Spotify to head up its marketing efforts in the EMEA region. Based in London, Matt Webster served in a marketing capacity at Spotify since joining the company in 2017. While at Spotify, he helped to launch the music streamer in eighteen markets. Prior to Spotify, Webster led international marketing at SoundCloud, and marketing operations at TicketMaster. In 2018, Twitch also hired Spotify’s head of original content licensing to lead music strategy and licensing.
Streamer departures have impacted overall Twitch viewership according to latest Streamlabs report
TL;DR - The 2019 streaming industry year in review dropped this week, compliments of Streamlabs and Newzoo. While the full report is lengthy and worth a look, a notable highlight was the impact on Twitch from the departures of notable streamers Ninja, Shroud, Disguised Toast, and CouRage. Understandably, Ninja’s departure triggered the effect with the impact ramping up as more streamers departed and as more time passed. From Q3 to Q4, total hours watched had dipped by nearly 10%, resulting in the fewest hours watched since the third quarter of 2018. Q4 also saw the fewest number of hours streamed since Q2 of 2018. Most notably, the number of unique channels streaming fell from 5.6M in Q1 to 3.7M by the end of the year.
Another Spotify alum joins Twitch to oversee music partnerships
TL;DR - Twitch nabbed another Spotify employee this week, hiring a former editor from the music streaming platform to manage Twitch’s music partnerships. Athena Koumis, who was also the head of North American music at EXITE, will remain based in NYC in her new role.
Twitch announces Twitch Rivals Fortnite charity tournament alongside Super Bowl
TL;DR - The Twitch Rivals Streamer Bowl will take place on January 30, with sixteen duos made up of popular streamers and NFL athletes facing off for a $500K charity prize pool. The chosen streamers drafted their NFL counterparts, among which the likes of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Baker Mayfield, Tfue, Dr. Lupo, Clix, and Kenyan Drake will be participating. The event will stream live from the NFLPA party in Miami on the Twitch Rivals channel as well as on the channels of the participating streamers.
Mixer announces upcoming platform enhancements and removal of 24/7 spam channels from directories
TL;DR - A series of updates will be coming soon to Mixer, chief among those being the removal of spammy 24/7 “spark farm” and follow-for-follow (F4F) channels. Mixer assured its users that legitimate 24/7 channels like radio stations would not be impacted, and that it intends to establish a category for such channels in the future. Additionally, changes to Mixer’s clipping system will be rolling out, along with a chat update to its Xbox app. Mixer also hinted at an auto-hosting feature to come further down the road, which would bring it closer to parity with Twitch’s current hosting feature-set.
Epic Games Store nears $1B in game sales and clear 100M customers mark
TL;DR - Epic Games announced this week it had reached 108M customers worldwide, who’ve collectively spent almost $700M to-date in the store. Roughly $250M has been spent on third-party titles alone - as in those not directly under the Epic Games umbrella. Top revenue drivers include World War Z, Dauntless, Borderlands 3, and Untitled Goose Game. Epic intends to continue its free games offering throughout 2020, and will be exploring cross-platform play options.
Tfue reveals plans to open streamer training center after buying 16,000 sqft. warehouse
TL;DR - In a recent interview with The Washington Post, Tfue commented on a 16,000 sqft. warehouse he recently purchased that he and his brother intend to use as a streamer training center. He and his brother, Jack, have plans to incorporate stunts and action sports into their regimen as well. The two plan to create a new gaming organization through which they’ll train select streamers and assist them in growing their following across social channels and the like. Online courses may be an option as well.
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