Twitch has been expanding its video content beyond gaming for some time, thanks to classic shows featuring Bob Ross and Julia Child, as well as its own “Creative” channel where artists and musicians can showcase their work. Now, the Amazon-owned streaming video platform will soon offer a few more reasons for non-gamers to tune in: Amazon Video pilots.
At the Television Critics Association’s press tour this weekend, Amazon announced it was bringing a handful of its original pilot programs to the Twitch audience. The news was reported by TV journalists on Twitter, The Deadline, Digital Trends, and others. (Neither Twitch nor Amazon have issued a formal announcement with details.)
Amazon has historically tested its new comedy, drama, documentary and kids’ shows with its audience by releasing initial episodes to Amazon Video, then tracking how well they are received. If the shows gain enough viewers and interest, they’re greenlit into production. Those series then become available to Amazon Prime members via Prime Video, the company’s Netflix competitor.
While the pilots will again be made available to Prime Video viewers on August 19, the company will for the first time also premiere them on Twitch’s gaming network. On August 31, two pilots will be streamed to Twitch for 24 hours, the company said, including “The Tick” and “Jean-Claude Van Johnson.” It’s unclear at this time how much the Twitch audience’s viewership will impact Amazon’s decision to greenlight the shows in question – especially since they’re only going to be available for day’s time.
However, it’s likely that Amazon wants to test the waters with regard to whether or not Twitch’s members are interested in new, episodic TV content. Its other experiments in this area have been successful – but they were not scripted series. Instead, Twitch aired classic shows like Bob Ross’ “Joy of Painting,” which drew 5.6 million viewers during its marathon, and Julia Child’s “The French Chef.” These had an established fan base going in, and tapped into a collective sense of nostalgia. Amazon’s originals, meanwhile, are brand-new shows that have to stand on their own.
The other benefit of debuting Amazon’s shows on Twitch could be its ability to test them with a more specific demographic – the younger, male audience. (Twitch has a predominantly male user base.) That makes sense for a couple of the shows in question – a reboot of the superhero-themed show “The Tick” and the martial arts-themed “Jean-Claude Van Johnson.”
The shows will be airing as a part of the Twitch Specials program which is designed around providing new content experiences aligned with the interests of the community, the company says. Twitch notes that it will also allow it to further test its closed captioning capabilities.
Corrections: Earlier reports from the event indicated there would be three pilots, including “I Love Dick.” Twitch has since made a formal announcement and says there will be just two, and “I Love Dick” is not one of them. This post has been updated with the recent information.