Despite Poor Performance, There is a Silver Lining in Twitch’s “Always On” Channels
VideoInk recently published a story taking a thorough look at Twitch’s recent venture into 24/7 “Always On” linear channels.
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The deep dive revealed some surprising and some not so surprising problems with the push into linear that has led some publishers on the platform to call it quits. But, while Twitch’s experiment may not have been as lucrative as both the social video service and the publishers it partnered with had hoped, the insights it revealed about the platform’s community was a silver lining for many companies distributing content via “Always On.”
“We are using [our 24/7 Twitch channel] as a lab in the sense that we can try different things,” explains GM of BUZZR Mark Deejtin, who oversees the game show network’s “Always On” channel. “We can see how people react, see how people interact with the content, and really look at what are the consumption patterns of the Twitch viewer, which, quite frankly, is different from the OTT Viewer. It’s different from the people who are watching content on Pluto TV or on Netflix.”
That difference is Twitch’s community of 15 million daily visitors, which are considered to be much more interactive than communities on other social platforms.
“The biggest thing if you’re operating any kind of OTT Service — the currency you live and die by — is engagement, and if you look at engagement numbers for people who use Twitch on a regular basis, it is really far above a lot of other online platforms,” said Erick Opeka, EVP of Cinedigm’s Digital Networks, which currently runs two channels on the platform. “Part of it is that Twitch is beyond just a place to view content it’s its own heavily engaged community. There are only a few places online that have that sort of really deep engagement.”
Opeka says another benefit to being on Twitch, which also includes tapping into its global community, is the immediate feedback the company receives from viewers of its two channels: ConTV, which streams free movies and TV shows, and CombatGO, a channel dedicated to martial arts.
“[What makes Twitch one of our] most valuable places to put content is the immediate feedback you get from programming. “Usually, feedback is relatively passive or you have to do some pretty extensive consumer research to get the level of immediacy that we get being on Twitch,” he explains. We’re literally getting users telling us what they think of programming. We have users telling us ‘Hey and you get this show?’ ‘What about that show?’ ‘We really love this, can you get more of this type of programming?'”
Opeka says this type of feedback has led Cinedigm to explore content acquisitions that it would have never considered, in addition to different verticals and subs genres that the company overlooked, which have since gone on to be very successful in the company’s overall ecosystem.
While Twitch currently has close to a dozen linear channels streaming 24/7 on its platform, it has still not yet proved to be a viable spot to house linear content for a list of reasons. However, for all its downfalls, the company has proved to be a valuable place to engage an audience — no matter how small — and explore the interests of the rapidly growing community living on Twitch.
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