Live-streaming, esports, and gaming news highlights for the week of February 10, 2020

Rapper Drake signs multi-year streaming deal with Caffeine

TL;DR - The details of the arrangement weren’t shared, but what’s known is that Drake has entered into a multi-year deal with streaming platform Caffeine. With him he’s bringing the Ultimate Rap League (URL), one of the largest and most well-known rap battle leagues in the United States. Drake’s intent with the partnership is to bring rap battles to a larger audience, and he sees Caffeine as the perfect vehicle to make it happen.

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YouTube’s deal with Activision may have been worth $160M

TL;DR - Details of YouTube’s recent streaming deal with Activision-Blizzard came to light this week. It’s being reported YouTube may have spent as much as $160M to acquire the streaming rights to Activision-Blizzard’s esports catalog. The three year deal includes Overwatch, CoD, and Hearthstone, with the bulk of the cost going towards acquiring the OWL rights. Interestingly, the Hearthstone rights were described as a “free thrown-in”. Also included in the deal are various incentive clauses centered around ad sales and viewership targets.

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Ronda Rousey signs exclusive streaming deal with Facebook Gaming

TL;DR - Ronda Rousey, of UFC and WWE fame, will start streaming to her 11.2 million Facebook fans on February 18th. She’ll be streaming Pokémon Sword and Shield to raise money for Australian bushfire recovery, as part of a new exclusive arrangement with Facebook Gaming. Rousey promises to deliver the “baddest stream on the planet”.

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YouTube testing new Applause feature to aid creator monetization

TL;DR - YouTube’s newest feature, called Applause, gives viewers an option to purchase an animation on approved videos. Each Applause costs $2, with a 70/30 split between the creator and YouTube. Once purchased, the animation will play over the video but will only be visible to the buyer, and will only display once. The current test is very limited, available only on desktop and only in select countries, of which the US, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand are included.

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Twitch and Gillette resurrect the Gillette Gaming Alliance in new deal

TL;DR - Twitch and Gillette have teamed up again and are bringing back the Gillette Gaming Alliance - a group of five streamers who will work with Gillette on content and charity initiatives around the world. The selected streamers are DrLupo, NateHill, DogDog, Alanzoka, and Elded. Part of the initiative is the “Bits for Blades” program. Twitch viewers buying products through the Gillette website will receive Twitch Bits in addition to their purchase, depending on how much they spend. Rewards start at 2K Bits for $10 spent and go upwards of 10K Bits for $50 or more.

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January live streaming gaming viewership was up 200 million hours

TL;DR - The number of hours watched industry-wide this January hit 1.34 billion, up 17% versus the same time last year. Mixer barely moved the needle, while Facebook posted the most impressive growth, up 340%. Twitch jumped from just over 800M hours to about 840M hours watched, and YouTube picked up an additional 70M hours, landing at about 360M hours. The data comes from an industry report compiled by and StreamElements.

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