Media & Entertainment

Twitch partners with Disney Digital Network on content, adds software for broadcasting pre-recorded videos

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On the heels of Twitch’s exec shakeup yesterday which saw the Amazon-owned streaming site adding a new COO, the company today announced a multi-year partnership with Disney Digital Network to bring several top creators to its site. The company also debuted new software for all creators that will allow them to broadcast pre-recorded content to their channels.

Disney Digital Network is the Mouse House’s multi-channel network, launched last year as a way to roll up all its digital-first content under one roof, including Disney acquisition, Maker Studios.

Twitch’s deal with Disney will see four of the digital network’s larger personalities – Jacksepticeye, LuzuGames, Markiplier, and Strawburry17 – establishing their own channels on Twitch, where they’ll broadcast live and create exclusive video-on-demand content.

While some of these creators already had Twitch channels, they’ll begin posting new and exclusive content starting today, says Twitch.

The move could bring an increased number of viewers to Twitch, given these creators’ large online followings.

For example, both Jacksepticeye and Markiplier have subscriber counts in the double-digit millions, at 17 million and 19 million, respectively.

Jacksepticeye (Sean McLoughlin) originally became popular for his “Let’s Play” videos, but later diversified into vlogging, sketches, music and animated shorts – all areas that Twitch, too, has been inching into itself through launches like its Creative section, and vlog-focused “IRL.” Markiplier (Mark Fischbach) is also known for his “Let’s Play” videos, but has expanded into skits.

Meanwhile, Strawburry17 (Meghan Camarena)’s content spans genres, including vlogs, gaming, cooking, cosplay, DIY, scripted, music and more. She’s appeared on the The Amazing Race’s 22nd season and hosted Disney XD’s Polaris Primetime show, which has helped her grow her audience further.

Luzu’s Spanish-language channel, LuzuGames is popular across Spain and Latin America, while his English-speaking channel Luzu has been helping him to grow his fanbase in the U.S. Luzu, too, is known for his “Let’s Play” videos, vlogs and collaborations with other creators.

“We’re always looking to create opportunities for our Disney Digital Network digital talent to
bring their stories and content to more fans in new ways,” said Andrew Sugerman, EVP of
Publishing and Digital Media, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, in a statement. “Partnering with Twitch gives our biggest creators access to the platform’s tools, expertise and community to directly engage with and build their audiences.”

Of course, the additions also follow a massive shake-up to YouTube’s partner program which now has a higher bar for entry – instead of 10,000 total views, channels need 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time over the past 12 months. The goal with the switch is to protect advertisers from accidentally ending up on unsuitable channels. However, the immediate result has been a sizable amount of backlash from YouTube’s community of smaller channels who feel they’re being unfairly punished for the actions of some big-name stars.

Twitch, with this Disney partnership, could potentially capitalize on the current angst, and bring more small creators to its site.

In addition to the partnership with Disney, Twitch is launching a suite of tools for video creators who want to post produced videos instead of only live streaming their content.

Twitch had originally differentiated itself by being a home to live streams, not the polished and professionally edited videos you’d find elsewhere, like YouTube. But that’s been changing.

Today, some of its creators want to pre-record and edit their videos before posting to Twitch. Video Producer, as this new software is called, will help with that via a suite of tools to make pre-recorded content more interesting.

This includes support for Premieres, a feature teased at this year’s TwitchCon, which allows creators to schedule the first viewing of one of their videos. They can create a shareable landing page for their Premiere, and insert a countdown timer before its start to attract an audience. Premieres also include a new PopCorn emote, available now through February.

Video Producer is also launching with support for scheduling re-runs, which lets creators re-show a video so fans can watch again and chat.

Because there will now be a variety of video types across many creators’ channels, Twitch is introducing new channel status labels, as well: “Live,” “Premiere” and “Rerun.”

These new tools will be available, starting today, from Twitch creators’ channel dashboard.

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