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What is Twitch?
From Anna Taylor: August 2018

Twitch is an online service that is used for streaming video broadcasts. This very popular service was launched in 2011 and is owned by Twitch Interactive which is a subsidiary of Amazon. The focus of the site is video game live streaming which also includes transmissions of eSports competitions and real life streams of creative content and Twitch also does music broadcasts as a new addition to their varied viewing portfolio. Users of Twitch can view live broadcasts or use the video on demand option.

Since its founding in 2011 where it mainly focussed on video gaming it has now expanded and includes streaming of artwork creation, music, talk shows and occasionally a TV series. This online service has around 2 million streamers each month and over 17 000 of these are earning money. These earnings are made possible through the Twitch Partner Programme which is a service allowing streamers added features which include subscriptions and placements.

How Does it Work?

Viewing of Twitch streams is possible through the official website or by accessing a Twitch application available on iOS and Android platforms. Viewers can also watch Twitch on their consoles (Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and 4) and Fire TV (Amazon). Twitch is also available on Google Chromecast and NVidia Shield. Broadcasts and videos are free and there is no login procedure for viewers. Viewers can create an account and this will allow them to create a favourite viewing list or subscription list of their favourite channels and also to take part in chat rooms.

Twitch will advertise streams on their main page either via their website or apps or viewers can find new channels to watch by looking through the games tab. Viewers can also look through other Twitch categories such as communities, popular, creative and discover which are found under the browse tab. Another way of finding out what is new or of interest to others is by looking on social media pages like Twitter or Instagram. Social media is a great way for viewer's to find out what's new or what other people have to say or recommend. Useful keywords to use when looking on social media are twitch stream, twitch streamer and streamer.

Although Twitch began as a video game streaming service it now offers a range of different streaming options. A popular option for non-gamers is In Real Life (IRL) where streamers can have discussions with their viewers in real time about everything from the latest games to the hottest AFL betting odds. Another option which has become popular is talk shows which are a varied mixture of panel discussions, podcasts and variety shows. For artistic viewers the creative tab is an option and here artists, programmers, animators and designers can share and discuss their creative approaches to their work.

How to Make Money

There are programmes such as Partners and Affiliates which allow for monetisation of broadcasts. This is open to anybody as long as certain requirements are met. The Twitch Affiliates Programme gives access to Bits (donations from viewers) and 5% earnings from any game sales done through their profile. The Partners Programme will also receive this, plus video ads, subscription options and custom options.

There is money to be made on Twitch; even large sums of money in some cases, but it does require dedication and time in order to keep an audience watching and entertained.


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