Caffeine signs streaming deal with rapper Offset

Caffeine, the live streaming service founded by former Apple designers Ben Keighran and Sam Roberts, has signed an exclusive streaming deal with Offset.

The startup has been relatively quiet since raising nearly $150 million in funding last year, but Keighran (who previously co-founded Chomp and then served as product design lead for Apple TV) told me that’s going to start changing as the company prepares to leave beta testing.

Keighran also pointed to the Offset deal as exemplifying several aspects of his vision for how Caffeine can become “the future of live TV.”

As part of the deal, Offset will host two exclusive shows on his Caffeine channel — a weekly stream at 6pm Pacific on Sundays where he’ll play his favorite games and try out new games suggested by fans, plus a second show called “Bet with Set,” where he’ll compete with celebrity guests on a variety of a challenges.

“With Caffeine, I can create my content in an organic way that lets me make real connections with my community,” Offset said in a statement. “They have created new technology that takes the lag out of online interactions and it makes me reachable in a way that other platforms simply can’t. Caffeine allows me to be myself so I’m trying to reach these kids to show them that everybody is a part of a team and we’re all one.”

Other Caffeine streamers include basketball player LaMelo Ball, rapper The Game and rapper Lil Xan, as well as game streamers Cartoonz, Ohmwrecker and Cranier. The streams are then monetized by allowing fans to purchase and send virtual gifts.

Keighran said that game streaming will be a key part of Caffeine’s appeal, but he suggested that compared to the currently dominant Twitch (owned by Amazon), Caffeine will have an easier time expanding beyond gaming.

He added that not only is Caffeine designed for a wide range of live-streaming content, but it also has the advantage of backing from 21st Century Fox and its new owner Disney, which was presumably a big part of how it acquired the streaming rights to sports content from Fox Sports and Disney-owned ESPN.

“We’re getting content rights from Fox and Disney that Google and Amazon would love to have,” Keighran said. “That’s part of the secret sauce that attracts athletes and hip hop artists — they can stream sports content and video games with a better community filter, chat, new monetization with no ads. I think Offset is the perfect example.”