Twitch announces group streaming and a karaoke game for its 1M concurrent viewers

The teens were out in force today in San Jose for the annual TwitchCon game streaming conference. There, Twitch announced that at any given time, 1 million people are watching it (up from 746,000 last year), and it seemed like that many game lovers were at TwitchCon in person to meet some of the nearly half-million web celebs that broadcast each day on the service. Considering Twitch said just 2 million were broadcasting per month in December, the service’s growth is still explosive under Amazon’s ownership.

Amongst the major reveals at TwitchCon were a new Squad Streaming feature that lets up to four people broadcast at once in split-screen that will test with select streamers later this year. There’s also a new Twitch Sings game built in partnership with Rock Band-creator Harmonix. Broadcasters can play to perform karaoke (though only with fake versions of songs since Twitch lacks major label
Continue reading "Twitch announces group streaming and a karaoke game for its 1M concurrent viewers"

YouTube is closing the gap with Twitch on live streaming, report finds

Twitch continues to dominate the live streaming market, with approximately 2.5 billion hours watched by viewers in the third quarter of 2018, according to a new industry report out this morning. While YouTube still trails, it’s begun to close the gap with Twitch, it appears. YouTube’s live streaming platform, YouTube Live, started the year with 15 percent of the overall live streaming market’s viewership, but by September 2018, it had grown to roughly 25 percent of all live streaming hours viewed.

These findings, and more, were the subject of a “state of the industry” report released today by StreamElements, which also dug into what’s making these live streaming sites tick. Of course, Twitch is still the market leader, with around 750 million monthly viewers, on average, who watched over 813 million hours in September. YouTube Live, by comparison, saw over 226 million hours that month, and Microsoft’s Mixer
Continue reading "YouTube is closing the gap with Twitch on live streaming, report finds"

Josh Kushner’s Thrive Capital brings in $1B

It’s a good week to be Josh Kushner, venture capitalist, founder of the health insurance unicorn Oscar, brother to President Donald Trump’s senior advisor Jared Kushner and son of real estate tycoon Charles Kushner.

Days after marrying supermodel Karlie Kloss, Kushner’s VC firm Thrive Capital has announced the close of $1 billion in new capital for its sixth flagship venture fund. The firm has raised $600 million for late-stage deals and an additional $400 million for earlier bets.

Thrive is stage and industry agnostic with investments in Oscar, Cadre, a real estate software company co-founded by the Kushner brothers, Glossier, Warby Parker, Slack, Robinhood and Stripe. Its exits include Spotify, Twitch and GitHub, of which it owned a 9 percent stake at the time of its $7.5 billion sale to Microsoft earlier this year.

Kushner, a close friend to Instagram’s former chief executive officer Kevin Systrom, famously doubled his

Continue reading "Josh Kushner’s Thrive Capital brings in $1B"

These are the most successful companies to emerge from Y Combinator

Earlier this month, Brex, a credit card provider to startups, announced it had raised $125 million at a $1.1 billion valuation.

The round was impressive for a couple of reasons. 1. The founders are a pair of 22-year-olds that had set out to build a virtual reality company before pivoting to payments. And 2. They had only completed Y Combinator, a well-known Silicon Valley startup accelerator, the year prior. Y Combinator is responsible for many successes in the startup world, certainly more than its fellow accelerators, which are all known to provide early-stage companies with a seed investment  — in YC’s case, $150,000 — mentorship and educational resources through a short-term program that culminates in a demo day. Today, YC has released the latest list of its most successful companies since it began backing startups in 2005. Ranked by valuation and/or market cap, Brex, sure enough, is
Continue reading "These are the most successful companies to emerge from Y Combinator"

In-car commerce startup Cargo raises $22 million led by Founders Fund

Cargo, the startup that helps ridesharing drivers earn money by bringing the convenience store into their vehicles, has raised $22 million in a Series A round led by Founders Fund . Additional investment came from Coatue Management, Aquiline Technology Growth as well as a number of  high-profile entertainment, gaming, and technology executives who include Zynga founder Mark Pincus, Twitch’s former CSO Colin Carrier, media investor Vivi Nevo, former NBA commissioner David Stern, Def Jam Records CEO Paul Rosenberg, Steve Aoki, Maria Shriver, and Patrick and Christina Schwarzenegger. To date, Cargo has raised $30 million in venture funding. As part of this latest round, Founders Fund partner Cyan Banister is joining the board. Cargo provides qualified ridesharing drivers with free boxes filled with the kinds of goods you might find in a convenience store, including snacks and phone chargers. Riders can use Cargo’s mobile web menu on their smartphones (without downloading an app) to buy what
Continue reading "In-car commerce startup Cargo raises $22 million led by Founders Fund"

Amazon’s Thursday Night Football live stream will feature real-time stats, Amazon.com shopping

Amazon is taking full advantage of its deal to live stream Thursday Night Football games, which it snagged the rights to earlier this year. The company will this year launch a TNF pre-game show, co-stream the games on its video game streaming site Twitch, and will leverage Prime Video’s “X-Ray” technology to give viewers access to real-time stats, team info, and the ability to shop for team merchandise on Amazon.com. X-Ray for Prime Video typically offers viewers information about cast and characters in a TV program or movie, as well as info about the music and, sometimes, additional trivia. In the case of TNF, however, the focus will be on the players and teams. With the start of the games today, September 27, at 8:20 PM ET, X-Ray on Prime Video will debut a new experience across Fire TV devices, including Fire TV Cube, 4K, Fire
Continue reading "Amazon’s Thursday Night Football live stream will feature real-time stats, Amazon.com shopping"

Live streams of karate and niche sports are terrifying major sports leagues

Of the 100 most-watched live telecasts in the US in 2005, 14 were sporting events; in 2015, sporting events comprised 93 of the top 100 telecasts. That shift occurred because TV shows are shifting to online or on-demand viewing, and live broadcasts of the biggest sports are the main thing TV networks have left to draw in live audiences. But the need to keep those sports on TV and off streaming services is only accelerating the rate at which young people are tuning into other sports leagues instead. The rapid adoption of subscription video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu and of social live streams on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch is enabling massive growth by sports leagues that you won’t normally see on TV. In the streaming era, more sports – and new types of sports like esports – keep thriving while interest in traditional pro leagues like the NFL
Continue reading "Live streams of karate and niche sports are terrifying major sports leagues"

Twitch updates security for its TwitchCon event following the Jacksonville esports shooting

Twitch is today announcing changes to its security procedures for its TwitchCon event taking place in San Jose, California on October 26-28. The update follows news of the tragic shooting at an esports event in Jacksonville, Florida last month where three people died, including the shooter, and 11 were injured. Twitch said it would review its procedures as a result, and would soon have more information about what it’s doing to keep attendees safe. Today, the company shared those plans.

According to Twitch, it’s working with San Jose’s local law enforcement, convention staff and additional security services on the event.

Continue reading "Twitch updates security for its TwitchCon event following the Jacksonville esports shooting"

Twitch hires head of diversity and inclusion

Twitch, the Amazon-owned streaming platform, has brought on its first head of diversity and inclusion, as well as a new chief financial officer and chief human resources officer. Katrina Jones, who will start next month as Twitch’s head of diversity and inclusion, is the former head of diversity at Vimeo. At Vimeo, Jones created the company’s diversity strategy, and worked on disrupting bias and fostering inclusion. Meanwhile, Michelle Weaver and Sudarshana Rangachary are coming on board as CFO and CHRO, respectively. From the diversity and inclusion front, Twitch has a history of struggling. The platform itself, for example, was called out in 2015 for being mostly white and male. Fast-forward to 2016, and Twitch hosted a panel at its annual convention dubbed “Diversify Twitch.” That didn’t turn out very well for Twitch, as its African-American panelists were subjected to racism, insults and slurs. Just last year, Twitch hosted
Continue reading "Twitch hires head of diversity and inclusion"

No one should be surprised that pirates hijacked the Logan Paul/KSI boxing match on Twitch

Over the weekend, pirates made off with millions in potential YouTube revenues by hijacking the live-streams of its pay-per-view “boxing” match between YouTube celebrities Logan Paul and KSI and broadcasting them on the rival streaming platform Twitch. The theft represents a pretty bold move in the continuing cat-and-mouse game between rival entertainment platforms Twitch (for live streaming) and YouTube (for pretty much everything else in the world of user-generated video). It also shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

For Twitch, the case of the pirated content is less a mystery worthy of the Hardy Boys and more a simple case of history repeating. Back in the halcyon days of live-streaming, when Twitch was a young upstart service known as Justin.tv (and well before it was bought by Amazon), the service had already had several run-ins with the law over pirated

🗿
Continue reading "No one should be surprised that pirates hijacked the Logan Paul/KSI boxing match on Twitch"

Mass shooting at Madden Championship Series event in Florida leaves several dead

At least eleven people have been shot and four people were killed in a mass shooting attack at a livestream event debuting the new “Madden NFL 19” game at an arcade in Jacksonville, Fla., according to local news reports. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s office confirmed on Twitter that one suspect was dead at the scene and the police were still investigating. “We just finished clearing The Landing of potential witnesses and victims there,” said Sheriff Mike Williams in a statement broadcast on Facebook Live. “We have no outstanding suspects,” Williams said. “We have one suspect in this case. He is deceased at the scene.” According to a report in The Los Angeles Timesthe shooter was a player who had lost during the competition and then shot other attendees at the event before killing himself. The event was live-streamed on Twitch and there are multiple audio
Continue reading "Mass shooting at Madden Championship Series event in Florida leaves several dead"

Pirated Twitch streams hijack YouTube’s pay-per-view Logan Paul/KSI boxing match

Today, there was a little bit of a skirmish between two professional YouTubers. Our dear old friend Logan Paul and KSI had an actual boxing match at the Manchester Arena where 15,000 tickets were sold (!!!!!!!!) for an event that ultimately ended in a draw and vows for a rematch. The action onstage wasn’t the only place where viewers could get a look into the action, there was a $10 pay-per-view stream on YouTube, but more people seemed to end up watching pirated streams on Twitch with boxing fight streams reaching over a million concurrent users at one point. Streams also popped up on Twitter-owned Periscope and there were a few unofficial streams popping up on YouTube as well.

Twitch will livestream Pokémon TV series and movies, while viewers ‘catch’ badges

Twitch has teamed up with The Pokémon Company to allow viewers to binge watch the Pokémon: The Series TV show and related movies on its site, and “catch” Pokémon badges along the way. While the former is one of Twitch’s many retro binge watch fests – it’s previously streamed old shows like Bob Ross, Julia Child, Mister Rogers, SNL, and most recently, Knight Rider – the interactive feature it’s debuting is something new. According to the company, Twitch will launch its own Pokémon extension to accompany the broadcast. This overlay, called “Twitch Presents: Pokémon Badge Collector,” will encourage viewers to collect Pokémon badges that appear on the screen for points, which places them on a leaderboard. This is only the second time Twitch has added an interactive element like this to one of its viewing events, and its addition could see users watching for longer periods of time,
Continue reading "Twitch will livestream Pokémon TV series and movies, while viewers ‘catch’ badges"

Twitch Prime ditches ad-free viewing as one of its perks

Twitch Prime, the perks program for Amazon Prime members offering free loot, games and other benefits is ditching one of its best features: ad-free viewing. According to an email sent out to Amazon Prime members today, ad-free viewing will no longer be included as a part of Twitch Prime for new members, beginning on September 14. However, members with existing annual subscriptions will be able to continue to enjoy ad-free viewing until their subscription comes up for renewal. And those with monthly subscriptions will have access to ad-free viewing until October 15. Twitch’s email offered a simple explanation as to why ad-free viewing was no longer going to be a part of the benefit program, saying that: “advertising is an important source of support for the creators who make Twitch possible.” The company also stressed that this change would “strengthen and expand that advertising opportunity for creators so they can
Continue reading "Twitch Prime ditches ad-free viewing as one of its perks"

It’s Friday so relax and watch a hard drive defrag forever on Twitch

It’s been a while since I defragged — years, probably, because these days for a number of reasons computers don’t really need to. But perhaps it is we who need to defrag. And what better way to defrag your brain after a long week than by watching the strangely satisfying defragmentation process taking place on a simulated DOS machine, complete with fan and HDD noise? That’s what you can do with this Twitch stream, which has defrag.exe running 24/7 for your enjoyment. I didn’t realize how much I missed the sights and sounds of this particular process. I’ve always found ASCII visuals soothing, and there was something satisfying about watching all those little blocks get moved around to form a uniform whole. What were they doing down there on the lower right hand side of the hard drive anyway? That’s what I’d like to know. Afterwards I’d launch
Continue reading "It’s Friday so relax and watch a hard drive defrag forever on Twitch"

Gaming star Ninja sparks outrage by refusing to stream with women

At a Samsung event last week, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins explained why he doesn’t stream with female gamers. “If I have one conversation with one female streamer where we’re playing with one another, and even if there’s a hint of flirting, that is going to be taken and going to be put on every single video and be clickbait forever,” said Ninja, who is married, in an interview with Polygon. As you might expect, this stance was met with plenty of backlash.

Ninja then doubled down on his stance, clarifying that it comes down to an issue of online harassment.

First and foremost, everyone has the
Continue reading "Gaming star Ninja sparks outrage by refusing to stream with women"

Twitch is closing its Communities

Say goodbye to Twitch’s Communities. The game streaming service says it’s soon killing off this still relatively new addition to its site in favor of implementing a tagging system instead. With the changes, users will be able to filter streams by tags within a directory or across different games on the Browse page, in order to better find the sort of streams they want to watch. The closure of Communities and addition of tags is being planned for mid-September, says Twitch. Twitch launched Communities just last year, with the goal of better catering to users’ unique interests. For example, different types of gaming, like retro, or different activities, like speedrunning, could then have their own community. There are also communities centered around titles like Fortnite Battle Royale, PUBG, League of Legends, and others, as well as those focused on creative endeavours like music, drawing, cooking, cosplay, and more. But
Continue reading "Twitch is closing its Communities"

Twitch launches a ‘how-to’ site for streamers, Twitch Creator Camp

Twitch wants more people to stream, so it’s going to begin teaching them how. The video game streaming site today announced the launch of Twitch Creator Camp, a new educational resource that helps newcomers learn the basics of streaming, as well as how to build up a channel, connect with fans, and earn rewards. The launch of the how-to site comes about a week after an article by The Verge detailed the long tail of Twitch streamers, with a focus on those who spend years broadcasting to no one in the hopes of one day gaining a following. The article raised the question that, in the age of live streaming, where every major social company – including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube – today offers easy streaming tools, there many not be enough of an audience for all the content creators are producing. Twitch, apparently, believes the issue is one
Continue reading "Twitch launches a ‘how-to’ site for streamers, Twitch Creator Camp"

Twitch streamers can now let viewers react with GIFs

Giphy is coming to Twitch . For the first time, Giphy is bringing its library of animated GIFs to the Amazon-owned game streaming service. The company today is launching a Giphy extension for Twitch streamers that will allow viewers to react in real-time using GIFs during a broadcast. The idea is that GIFs could make streams more engaging and entertaining, which would, in turn, attract retain viewers for longer periods of time. Twitch extensions were first introduced last year, but only recently did Twitch add support for running multiple extensions at once. That could encourage more developers to try out the Giphy extension, without having to give up their other favorite overlays. To use the new extension, the streamer will first configure which part of the screen area will be used to display the GIFs viewers post. Once the extension is activated, viewers will be able to access it during a
Continue reading "Twitch streamers can now let viewers react with GIFs"

Facebook launches Brand Collabs search engine for sponsoring creators

Facebook wants to help connect brands to creators so they can work out sponsored content and product placement deals, even if it won’t be taking a cut. Confirming our scoop from May, Facebook today launched its Brand Collabs Manager. It’s a search engine that brands can use to browse different web celebrities based on the demographics of their audience and porfolios of their past sponsored content. Creators hoping to score sponsorship deals will be able to compile a portfolio connected to their Facebook Page that shows off how they can seamlessly work brands into their content. Brands will also be able to find them based on the Top countries where they’re popular, and audience characteristics like interests, gender, education, relationship status, life events, or home ownership. Facebook also made a wide range of other creator monetization announcements today