Twitch’s co-founder wants the site to reach beyond gaming as it seeks to capture the market on all live-streamed online media.
Onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF, Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear discussed the future of non-gaming content on the world’s most populous online e-sports arena.
When Amazon bought Twitch for $1 billion back in June of 2014, no one really understood the potential of online live-streaming. Fast forward a couple of years and the chatter surrounding live-streaming is insanely strong and olds are finally understanding why people listen to PewDiePie. TechCrunch reporter Romaine Dillet pressed Shear onstage about whether the company was sold too early.
“If we’ve held out longer could we have made more money?” said Shear. “Probably.”
The company’s relationship with Amazon has certainly allowed the site room to scale more quickly to keep up with competitors that have arisen to replicate Twitch’s success.
YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have all placed major resources in the live-streaming space in the past year. Twitch has maintained a pretty dominant control in the space of live-streamed gaming content but YouTube gaming has quickly gained popularity. For his part, Shear says that focusing on what’s happening elsewhere isn’t the most efficient move.
“I think that it’s really important for companies not to get too hung up on what their competitors are up to,” Shear said.
It seems the company is beginning to follow in the steps of Periscope and Facebook Live as it expands the site’s live-streamed content in non-gaming verticals.
From live-streaming the Democratic National Convention to sharing a bizarre South Korean channel where people watch other people eat meals, Twitch is definitely expanding into disparate areas as it strives to reach demand in every far corner of the internet.
“There’s clear demand from the creator side and the viewer side for this non-gaming content,” Shear added. “Gamers want to watch more than just video games.”
Twitch has still been funneling quite a bit of cash into ambitious gaming initiatives like buying e-sports competitive gaming teams. There seems to be disagreement on whether this is a long-term strategy for the company. What they’ve gathered early-on in terms of experience and high-level input, they’ve lost in terms of overall vision.
“The full strategy there is still TBD,” Shear stressed. “We’re not convinced of the strategy in the future.”
Overall, Twitch is looking to bring their rabid set of monthly users to the site for more hours each day. Whether that demand lies in live-streaming events or television shows or social videos, Shear made it clear the company is looking to keep on experimenting.