Live television has been an important part of media ever since its first broadcast in 1951. Starting with news, live viewing took over by offering sports, comedy, infotainment, and more. While always popular, live viewing was still strictly limited by the realities of traditional television. With the advent and popularisation of Twitch, this began to change, and in doing so the entire spectrum of how we watch has undergone significant, unpredictable, and unprecedented changes.
The Success of Twitch
When it first launched in 2011, Twitch operated with a limited goal. It was built on the idea of streaming video games, which even many gamers at the idea thought of as silly and unnecessary. Over time, viewers began to appreciate that Twitch streaming games were a lot like hanging out and watching a friend play games as we used to grow up. The big difference was that Twitch is far better suited to adult life, and the business that this implies.
Just five years after its launch, in 2016, Twitch brought in a total revenue of $275 million. Along the way it had expanded beyond video games, exploring other avenues like live music, arts, and just hanging out and chatting. As the possibilities of Twitch expanded so did its success, until by 2021, Twitch’s revenue reached $2.68 billion.
New Entertainment, New Stars, and New Culture
Today, Twitch has come so far that it’s often a recommended app on smart TVs, and its effects reach deep into other forms of entertainment. In essence, the way Twitch would work with high-speed internet would be as an evolution of public access channels of old, only backed by far better quality and vastly improved potential reach.
Anybody on Twitch could stream exactly what they wanted, and if there was an audience, no matter how esoteric the show, people would tune in. This gave rise to ideas that television executives wouldn’t expect. As covered on gaming sites, the latest in Twitch news developments is hotly followed by a mass of fans around the world. Articles address the latest gossip pertaining to prolific Twitch users like Amouranth and MoistCr1TiKaL, who continually draw in huge viewerships through variety shows and by acting as commentators on important events. The right host could make anything engaging, and this made breakout stars of a new generation of celebrities.
Of course, not everyone in the Twitch game was a newcomer to entertainment. There have also been many instances where famous names moved into Twitch streaming from related fields. One of the biggest names here has been Scottish comedian Limmy, who went from making (Scottish) Bafta-winning television to playing games on Twitch. Despite many international users having trouble with his accent, the move by Limmy has been met with universal praise, even with his non-traditional approach to gameplay and his audience.
As the landscape of entertainment abandons established methods for the digital frontier, Twitch only continues to grow. From humble origins in sharing gaming fun, Twitch has influenced YouTube, movies, and major brands with sponsorships and promotions. We might never have seen it coming, but Twitch is already a name many consider alongside established TV channels, and with the younger generation, the direction of the future is clear.