E-sports streaming startup Twitch has already seen massive growth in its audience since launching to the public just about two years ago. It has more than 35 million unique viewers a month, which is up from 20 million last September. Now it’s hoping to better monetize that audience, with the creation of an in-house sales team to go after big advertisers in the video game industry.
The Twitch Media Group is the name of the new team, which is being overseen by chief revenue officer Jonathan Simpson-Bint. It includes SVP of sales Kym Nelson, VP of sales Andy Swanson, and senior sales manager Christina Grushkin, all of whom have experience in the gaming trade press prior to joining Twitch.
Nelson had served as VP of west coast sales at IGN Entertainment over the last 10 years, where she led the company’s ad sales and strategic digital marketing programs. Swanson had previously held the role of publisher at Future US’s Games Group, which included magazines such as Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer, and PSM. He also served as senior director of strategic sales at Ubisoft and VP of digital biz dev at GameFly. Grushkin, meanwhile, had served as senior sales manager at Future US.
The move to hire in-house came as Twitch has been steadily growing its viewership and its number of broadcasts. In addition to its 35 million unique viewers, the startup also has more than 600,000 unique broadcasters per month. There are more than 4,000 members of the company’s partner program, and viewers tune in for about 1.5 hours of video per day. That’s a lot of content to wrap ads around.
“We’re growing extremely fast and we’ve been getting deeper into more complex and interesting relationships with both endemic and non-endemic advertisers,” CRO Simpson-Bint wrote by email. “The best way for us to put the pedal to the metal and really deliver on the unique promise that Twitch offers is to create and sell deeply integrated custom packages — and that’s best done by our own internal sales team.”
That internal team will replace an ad sales partnership with CBS Interactive that the companies struck last year. According to Simpson-Bint, its internal team is now responsible for almost all of the company’s sales efforts.
Last fall, Twitch raised $15 million in Series B funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners to go after the e-sports market. Alsop Louie Partners and Draper Associates also participated in the round. The company, which is based in San Francisco, now has 80 full-time employees.