Amazon wants to catapult the next generation of internet stars, and it’s positioning its video-game streamer Twitch to do just that.
According to Bloomberg, Amazon is going after exclusive livestreaming deals with media companies, YouTube stars, and Hollywood talent like Will Smith in an effort to expand Twitch beyond its niche of video games.
As Bloomberg pointed out, Twitch has a long road ahead if it wants to go toe-to-toe with YouTube – the largest ad-supported video site in the world with 1.9 billion monthly viewers – but even YouTube has caught on to Twitch’s appeal (it introduced paid subscriptions after Twitch did).
Twitch is largely a platform for people to play video games and stream them live for others to watch. Many have found success on the site similar to famous YouTube personalities.
But that’s not the site’s only use, and CEO Emmett Shear is looking to the future. Bloomberg reported, based on anonymous sources who were at a recent meeting, that Shear set a target of $US1 billion in ad sales for Twitch, which would double its current ad sales.
Twitch has a loyal user base, and there are already plenty of Twitch stars with huge followings. Popular internet personality and streamer, Ninja, for example, makes at least $US560,000 a month, Forbes estimated – and that was in March. Amazon Prime subscribers are allowed to donate to his Twitch stream, plus he has a popular YouTube channel. And Twitch star Summit1g revealed his donation total in a stream last year to be over $US208,000 at the time.
Below are the nine biggest Twitch stars, some of whom are making millions:
Followers: 2.46 million
The ESL Gaming Network hosts numerous competitive-gaming events and its “Counter Strike: Global Offensive”-focused Twitch stream is a massive hit.
Followers: 2.52 million
Tim says on his YouTube channel bio that if he could, he would make streaming his full-time job. “The real reason that I love streaming is that I get to meet and talk to some many unique and different people,” he says. He primarily plays Fortnite.
Followers: 2.59 million
Syndicate’s real name is Tom Cassell. He started his video career in 2010 on YouTube where he became prominent for “Halo” and “Call of Duty.” On Twitch, he primarily plays “Fortnite,” “Minecraft,” and “Call of Duty.”
Followers: 2.62 million
DrDisRespect’s real name is Guy Beahm. He’s known for being a prominent internet personality within the competitive-gaming circle. “I created a character who plays multiplayer video games, and he’s considered the most dominating gaming specimen,” Beahm told ESPN last year. He primarily plays “PlayerUnknown’s Battlgrounds.”
5. Riot Games
Followers: 3.01 million
Riot Games is a video game development and eSports tournament company, best known for the popular multiplayer battle arena game, “League of Legends.”
Followers: 3.26 million
Summit1g’s real name is Jaryd Lazar, who rose to prominence as a competitive “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” player, which he still plays on his Twitch stream. He has also recently been playing “Realm Royale” and “Escape from Tarkov.” He describes himself as a “full-time streamer” in his Twitter bio.
Followers: 4.014 million
Michael Grzesiek is Shroud’s real name, and he is a Canadian former eSports competitive gamer who focused on multiplayer battle arena games like “Counter-Strike” and “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” which he still primarily plays on Twitch.
Followers: 4.06 million
Ali Kabbani is a professional “Fortnite” player, which is a popular multiplayer battle royale game.
Followers: 10.4 million
Richard Tyler Blevins is a popular internet personality and the most popular streamer on Twitch by more than 6 million followers. He is known for playing “Fortnite.” He plays video games for roughly 12 hours a day.
However, he’s been the subject of controversy over his refusal to stream with women, saying that he’s afraid of it being taken the wrong way and making headlines if he were to flirt with someone.
“The only way to avoid that [gossip] is to not play with [women] at all,” he has said.
He recently released a statement on Twitter regarding backlash, in which he said that he wanted to bring attention to the issue of online harassment, and minimise it in his family’s life.
Blevins’ wife, Jessica, is his manager. In an interview with Business Insider, Jessica opened up about what it’s like to be her video-game playing husband’s manager and how it affects their marriage. She said that he takes a four-hour break each day to make time for them.
But it helps that she, too, understands Twitch and the business of gaming/streaming. She has her own channel with over 320,000 followers, and she not only wants to see her husband succeed, but be known throughout Hollywood. She views his gaming as not gaming, but working.
“I have so much more respect for him, and I’m so proud of him, because I get to say my husband works all day, he works so hard, and he really does so much for our family,” she told Business Insider.
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