Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch is growing its advertising and content offering and is eyeing further expansion in the Australian market.
The live video platform for gaming now boasts an average daily viewing time of four hours per user in Australia and has 140 million users engaging globally.
Brands including St. George, McDonald's, Menulog, Samsung and Warner Bros. have all jumped on board with the platform, while in the US, major sports organisation such as the NFL have become live streaming games.
In Australia and New Zealand, media sales are controlled by Twitch's exclusive media agency partner Showdown.
Advertisers on Twitch span multiple categories, not just tech and gaming, including financial services, fast food and fashion retail.
Former Sony MD, turned Showdown chairman, Michael Ephraim, says the company deals with 99% of the gaming companies that advertise on Twitch.
Pre-roll ads dominates most of the advertising revenue for Twitch he adds, with pre-roll the most common form of advertising to be served to users when first logging into the platform.
Once logged into the platform users can view channel's, which can be either content providers or brands (both Vice and Redbull have channels on Twitch), as well as individual broadcasters, which are gamers streaming their own content.
“Once you go into that channel or the broadcaster, you'll be served an ad. So, that's the main part of the business,” Ephraim says.
SureStream which is a mid-roll is then seamlessly stitched in to an influencers' broadcast, helping navigate around ad blockers.
The influencer partnership
Preroll, similar to what is seen on most streaming platforms, generates revenue for both the Twitch platform, but also the gamer broadcasting a live stream.
Ephraim says under the sponsorship model, developed by Twitch, individual gamers who build strong audiences are eventually eligible for paid brand partnerships.
Under this model, the gamer, more commonly referred to as an influencer, will often promote a brand and introduce the ad.
For example, a influencer may introduce the ad while the game is loading the next level or match.
It's highly effective, 52% of our audiences actually purchase the product that the influencer promotes, that's driven by the srong community engagement Twitch has," Ephraim says.
The majority of ads are 30 seconds, however the platform has also secured cinema partners, which has led to other advertising content, such a film trailers.
Outside of preroll, Showdown also creates additional content with influencers as part of larger brand partnership deals.
Ephraim says for a game such as the recently release God of War, infleuncers will be paid to not only promote the game, but also play it for a period of time across a live stream.
He says this content is developed for brands looking to specifically engage with the Twitch audience through launch events or specific content partnerships.
“It's a very sticky, very engaged audience that we have, that really, I can't think of any other portal that can deliver that kind of viewership to advertisers that want to promote their brands," Ephraim says.
It is a gaming audience for the content on there but that's expanding out to all kinds of content - movie, music, Red Bull, NFL. Vice Channel has a channel on Twitch."
The brands involved
Outside of the traditional gaming brands, Ephraim says computer and tech companies such as HP, Dell, Samsung and ACER are the key brands engaging with the platform.
“We've worked with St. George, McDonald's, Adidas, Charles Sturt University. It's anybody really that has a product that they think is relevant for the millennials, 14-39-year-old predominately 80% males. 14-39 is 78% of our audience,” he says.
With e-sports tournament broadcasting making up a significant part of Twitch's content, outside of influencer streams, Showdown also provides brands with opportunities for larger scale sponsorship deals.
Recently Omen, HP's elite gaming brand, took over as the main sponsor of a tournament for popular mutliplayer racing/sports game Rocket League.
Ephraim adds that these partnerships allow brands to communicate with its core consumers for extended periods of time on a massive scale.
“Omen by HP - they sponsored the event and the stats were incredible. Over a nine-week period, there were 2.1 million viewers and something like 22 million minutes viewing the tournament,” he says.
“They got great viewership there and it was, overall, a very holistic campaign.”
Globally, Twitch has also started expanding its content outside of gaming. In the US, it's has secured the the rights for the Thursday night NFL games, which will air on the platform this season.
Brands such as Red Bull have launched channels on Twitch, while channels such as 'IRL' (In Real Life) take reality TV to a different level, providing viewers with a constant stream of their every days lives.
Ephraim says similar content strategies similar to these are likely to reach Australia's Twitch users soon with organisations such as Football Federation Australia (FFA) already getting involved with e-sports.
The FFA e-league got two million viewers during the 10 week period of the tournament and FFA was "ecstatic with the numbers” according to Ephraim.
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