Streaming has entered the main stream media and it is amazing. This new evolution of entertainment leads us to learning new ways to provide content to our audiences. It is so new that it leaves a lot of questions and options. There are so many choices in terms of what content to provide, what computer to use, what game to play, your persona or attitude, and, most importantly, what platform do you use to stream on.
The plethora of streaming platforms that range from brand new to professional, almost TV like, platforms. Many are trying to build new streaming sites to compete with the big boys. I highly recommend you as a streamer, or even a viewer, to investigate new platforms. Just think. Amazon once used Google Ads. Now Amazon and Google are competing.
For now, we look at three streaming platforms that lead the streaming market. Twitch, recently acquired by Amazon, YouTube Live, a platform that is known more for its videos than its live streams, and Mixer, the streaming platform created by Microsoft for its XboxOne consoles. So how do these streaming platforms differ and how are some more beneficial than others?
All streaming platforms will have a chat function. Without the chat function the stream would ultimately fail. One can stream without a camera. The best example is the streamer Lirik. Another can stream without a microphone or camera if they are consistently communicating in chat. The broadcaster’s chat via typing replaces the microphone communication. The simple function of having conversation in a chat room should not be too hard. How do these streaming platforms handle the age-old function of communication?
YouTube has a chat function like the rest with a few major and minor adjustments. A minor adjustment is the amount of emotes that are available. When natively watching YouTube Live stream you can click the emoticon, emote icon, and scroll through the different emotes like the ones on your phone. You could use the same emotes on Twitch, maybe Mixer, but its native emotes on YouTube.
A major adjustment they have on YouTube is their “Super-Chat” function. Where if you spend a certain amount of money your chat will be sent with a tiered colored background for a given amount of time. Your chat will stand out from the rest and be put on a list for the streamer to notice easier.
I had a small issue with this one. I wanted to see how the partners on Mixer managed emotes or how the chat differs, but I found nothing too exciting. The emote system is the same. When someone subscribes to a Mixer channel a confetti effect fills the page but other than that it’s the same. Well, there is one exception. Do you know about MultiTwitch.tv? Well Mixer has that native to its programing. Channels will be categorized in “Costream” which it will feature both the main streamer and its costreamer in the same page. A HUGE missed opportunity is that both chats from each streamer is not combined into one. Something I wish it did. That would be cool.
The last part of this would be the “Spark” currency you earn just by using Mixer. This currency can be used to interact with the stream with little notifications provided by Mixer. Thrid-party applications or bots use this same format for how you gain currency but it’s not integrated into the streaming platform like Mixer.
In the attempt to be completely unbiased in this paragraph I will put a disclaimer. “I LOVE TWITCH’S CHAT INTERACTION”. I’ll be more informative. Every part of the chat screams interaction. You have many ways of putting your messages behind funny emotes, donated messages and subscribed messages. All which you could do on the other platforms but for some reason Twitch’s version feels better. It’s hard to pin point why the feeling is better. All three platforms allow for a third-party bot, API integration, or alert systems. Youtube, Mixer and Twitch all allow custom emotes where the exception is with Twitch’s Global emotes that everyone has access to, not mentioning the Twitch Prime emotes you also get.
I believe it boils down to the culture that is cemented in the Twitch community. A lot of these emotes started in the Justin.tv era. Perhaps the fact the emotes have longevity and character behind them really pushes the Twitch chat interaction to the forefront.
Every streamer’s dream is to make it big, get all the viewers and be successful streaming. The platform you are streaming on should in someway assist in your discoverability. When we are excluding the amount of social media marketing you do on your own time we have to then look at the platform to see how you are being marketed/promoted by the platform itself. Before we go on to the individual platforms we need to look at some numbers. Sarah Perez from TechCrunch.com states,
There are the number of viewers that were found in the last 3 months of 2017. So, it is very easy for us to look at these numbers and let out the inquiry, “Where are my viewers?” but that’s not the question you should be asking. Instead we need to ask, “How is my streaming platform promoting me?”
It is often said that if you want to have a successful streaming career you need to venture into the YouTube space and create videos natively for YouTube. So why not just create videos on YouTube and just stream there? The way that YouTube promotes its streamers mirrors the way they promote their videos. If I were to watch an OhNickel video, subscribe and then watch more videos, then you’ll start to see a lot of his content on your main page. If you watch a lot of Overwatch videos you will be put in front of more Overwatch content. Once you subscribe to a channel you’ll then see a notification of that channel going live AND have the live stream put on your front page.
When you finish streaming your entire stream is then treated as a complete video on YouTube. It adds to your watched hours and your revenue, which we will talk about later, on YouTube. Your content grows in popularity, more watched hours, more of your videos get put in front of more faces and more people then subscribe to your channel to then have the entire process repeat itself.
Mixer was, and still is, a new platform for me. I have never been on Mixer before. This article gave me a great opportunity to investigate Mixer. Everything was new, unsurprising, very surprising, interesting, uninteresting and just overall NEW. Something that came up was their feature called “HypeZone”. THIS WAS REALLY INTERESTING. HypeZoneFortnite/PUBG is a system that puts the streamers that are in the ”final moments” of a game and have them highlighted on the “HypeZone Channel”. Regardless of whether they win or lose they get a huge amount of time on the frontpage. In those few minutes the streamer needs to work their hardest to capture the viewers. This opportunity is very important for any streamer.
MY ONLY GRIPE is that this platform is advertised mainly for Xbox users. You rarely see a PC stream on this platform and if you do they are using their computer to capture their Xbox console. The biggest games on this platform are Fortnite, PUBG, and Minecraft.
Twitch hand picks Partnered streamers to be featured on the front page. When Twitch started the Twitch Partner Spotlight they stated,
“Our Partnerships team looks at stats like chat activity, follower retention during spikes/raids, frequency and consistency of broadcasts … The best advice we can give is just to keep putting on the best possible broadcast experience for your followers and let the rest flow from there.”
I found this very underwhelming. Until…
“If you want to highlight something interesting or unique about your stream, please feel free to send us some info in a Twitch PM (better yet, include a 60–90 second video explaining your stream and we might play it on Twitch Weekly!) to the Twitch users “Twitch” or “TwitchWeekly”.”
There is something to admire in having direct contact with the people “running the show”. When the official Twitch blog is providing tips on how to be “put on” it is a glorious moment. But this counts as marketing.
How is the Twitch algorithm pushing your stream to the forefront? It’s based off viewer recently watched history. The problem with this is that I am only finding partnered streamers that I do not follow. When I do find non-partnered streamers, it is because I follow them. I fear that a lot of the algorithm is based solely on the streamer’s social media marketing (i.e. asking to be hosted/raided).
The partnership program on streaming platforms is when a streamer really knows they are having a success with streaming. Partnership usually means you can generate revenue on your channel. Every platform has a Partnership program. They provide different plans and revenue methods. In addition, they all have a set minimum requirement to join the program. These partnership programs are great milestones for streamers regardless how big or small you are. Let’s look at the requirements and how each work. Note: all these platforms allow you to run advertisements and have custom emotes. Remember that using a third-party donation method does not count since you can easily apply the same service to all the other streaming platforms. For example, Paypal, Patreon, Streamlabs.)
YouTube’s Partnership program was the best from of livestream for the sake of revenue. WAS. The platform requires you to have a Partnership to generate revenue on your videos. With the recent events on YouTube you are now required to have 1000 subscribers on your channel. This is not a lot for YouTube. The best part is your content on your stream does not have to match your YouTube videos. As mentioned before, your live streams are uploaded to your channel. This provides you an ease of use and can even lead to video ideas in the future.
What does this all activate? In your stream you have Sponsors. Sponsor is the $5 USD, month long, and exclusive chat privileges plan. You have the ability to Super-Chat from the start. Though I believe the “cash out” would be the minimum of $100 USD (we mentioned this before).
This is uncharted territory. Mixer is new in the scene in terms of a streaming platform. They do an excellent job in providing a means for their users, both streamer and viewer, to contribute to the community. The streamer can easily receive subscribers but no “super-chat” or “bit” function as far as I can see. The minimum requires on the Mixer platform is LENGTHY. Instead I’ll just link the page to the information HERE. As I write this article there is no advertisement service available for the platform. I would imagine them adding it soon. The only difference I see about $1. The subscription program costs $5.99 instead of the $4.99 on Twitch.
Twitch set the foundation for streaming platforms everywhere. They provided the base for the subscriber model. Bits is an amazing way to provide to your favorite streamer without Twitch taking a cut. Small Bits here and there lead to great forms of interaction with your favorite streamer. All these are provided with your Partnership status on Twitch. This program consists of you having streamed more than 25 hours, 12 unique days streamed and have 75 concurrent viewers in the last 30 days. But wait, there is more.
Twitch recently released the Twitch Affiliate program to their platform. The Affiliate program is A LOT easier to get into. You only need 50 followers in total, 8 hours of stream time, 7 unique stream days, and 3 concurrent viewers in the last 30 days. This was an amazing move for Twitch because it allows for new streamers to gain revenue. Drawing in the entire streaming community since you can start generating revenue with a very small fan base.
Out of all the streaming platforms mentioned, YouTube takes the cake when it comes to having an algorithm and having a way to market yourself within YouTube. If you were to create content for YouTube on YouTube. You’ll be doubling down on your work. Let me explain. Editing your next video on YouTube Live for 2 hours becomes a video on your channel. Your completed video can link to the editing process. People are already watching the video. Whats to say they won’t find the editing process interesting as well?
YouTube is doing a great job as a streaming platform. I wish it was more engraved in the minds of everyone as a competitor to Twitch. It would lead to a lot of better changes to Twitch and YouTube to continuously fight for our attention both as viewers and streamers.
To be completely honest. I am very unimpressed with Mixer. I would need to investigate more to see where they are winning. It just must be a hard thing to sell when you are marketing only one console and a small percentage of PC users. I feel Mixer is only taking ideas that were already implemented in Twitch and YouTube and using it on their site to start to create competition. Again, I only wish they branch away from only being an Xbox/Microsoft platform.
Well what has been said about Twitch that has not been said already. It just works. It has been a great streaming service since Justin.tv. Everyone from creatives to TV programs wanted to use Justin.tv for their broadcasting needs. My only gripe is they need to advertise and talk more about their streamers both big and small. Twitch also releases a lot of amazing things that make it easier for the viewers and streamers to enjoy their services. The Twitch desktop application works well but is not talk about a lot. They have a blog that produces amazing content to read. Their blog can be used for such great forms of discussion and interaction. They can do more with this amount of attention. Hopefully we see more from them in the future.
The streaming platforms you use is ultimately what you decide to use. They all can provide you with something unique. Just understand how they work and how you can excel in their platform. Maybe Mixer becomes the next Twitch. Maybe YouTube dies out to then be resurrected with a handful of streamers. Maybe Twitch decides to stop all its services tomorrow. Therein lies the beauty in streaming on any platform. You are doing this because you never know where you could take it. Or do you? Much Love.