Twitch, the Amazon-owned video game streaming site, stumbled into an incredible source of new traffic when it kicked off the launch of its “Twitch Creative,” section at the end of last month with the debut of an all-episodes marathon of Bob Ross‘ “The Joy of Painting.” Yes, the “happy little trees” guy. The channel was an immediate success, and today Twitch reports that it attracted 5.6 million unique viewers who watched Ross paint his iconic landscape scenes. In addition, Twitch has decided to capitalize on this interest further, and has decided to keep Ross around by streaming a season of “The Joy of Painting” every Monday, starting today.
Twitch gained the rights to live-stream Bob Ross from BobRoss Inc. and Janson Media, whose participation helped introduce him to a younger generation of viewers who don’t remember watching his calming tutorials on painting on TV as kids.
From 3 PM PST to 9:30 PM PST, Twitch will run one season of “The Joy of Painting.” Because there are 31 seasons, there won’t be repeats until seven months pass by. Twitch will also celebrate Bob Ross’ birthday by running an all-episodes marathon yearly on October 29th.
In addition, Twitch has now expanded its agreement with BobRoss Inc. and Janson Media to enable other Twitch broadcasters to re-stream these mini-marathons, the company says. That means that community members will be able to paint along with Bob, add their own commentary, and then broadcast the results to their own channel. This interactivity adds a new level to the show – it’s no longer just about watching and learning (or just relaxing, as Ross soothingly explains how to paint clouds), but also showing off your own painting skills in return.
Though it seems a bit odd that the creative arts would find a home on a video game streaming site, Twitch said that this type of content was some of the fastest-growing non-gaming video on its site, growing at 40% month-over-month, and reaching 2 million viewers monthly. It seems that gamers have other interests as well, as it turns out.
According to Twitch’s data, the 5.6 million viewers watched 545,880,000 minutes during the Ross marathon, and sent 7.6 million chat messages, using 3.8 million “KappaRoss emotes.” The Bob Ross channel, which was seeing 45,000 concurrent viewers just two days after launching, eventually reached over 183,000 concurrent viewers at the top.
Twitch also says it will split the proceeds from the channel’s $4.99 subscription option between the rights holders; Root division, its local arts organization supporting artists and teaching children the arts; cancer research organization St Jude; and with Twitch Creative community support – meaning it’s keeping some of the money for itself to re-invest in the Creative category.
The company doesn’t have any announced plans to try to duplicate the success of Ross by acquiring the rights to other “creative” shows or videos, but it seems likely that Twitch will look into ways to grow this category further. No only does it deliver an increase in viewers, as reported previously, it attracts a different demographic mix as well. Twitch told us while its current user base is predominantly male, the male/female mix is more balanced among creative content viewers.