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article imageThe Washington Post is starting a channel on Amazon-owned Twitch

By Karen Graham     Jul 16, 2018 in Internet
The Washington Post is looking to Twitch’s live streaming gamers to reach new video audiences, with a new channel that started today with a live stream covering President Trump’s press conference, of all things, with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
For those who are not familiar with Twitch, it is the leading live streaming video platform owned by Twitch Interactive, a subsidiary of Amazon, the world's largest Internet retailer, owned by Jeff Bezos.
It's a place where people play games, make crafts, and showcase their day-to-day lives, and attracts over two million broadcasters every month, and it continues to grow, especially now that it has become so easy to live stream. And it also helps that platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram are encouraging people to share and watch live stories.
So why not watch a live news event? The Washington Post is starting off with two shows, one being coverage of live news events, with the "frequency determined by the news cycle," says the Post. This show began today on the WP Twitch Channel with the Trump-Putin press conference.
The other show will give viewers a different take on the typical - sometimes boring - politician interview. Called “Playing Games with Politicians,” The show will begin on July 19 with political reporter David Weigel interviewing prominent politicians while they play video games.
Representative Matt Gaetz, who has represented Florida's 1st District since 2017, Senator Corey Booker, currently serving as the junior United States Senator from New Jersey, and Representative Suzan DelBene, who represents Washington state's first district, have all been confirmed for the first season.
And no, there has been no details put out on what video games will be played. But even so, it should be a fun show to watch.
A switch to Twitch
Of course, with the Washington Post and Amazon being owned by the same person, it is almost natural that the WP would be looking into Twitch as a new source of viewers. They first tried the concept out when it broadcast Mark Zuckerberg’s hearings on Capitol Hill in April and got 380,000 viewers the first day and 1.5 million views in all on its top clip that day.
Twitch unveils Pulse — a new Twitter competitor for gamers.
Twitch unveils Pulse — a new Twitter competitor for gamers.
A constant question for us, because the digital landscape is evolving, is, where is our audience right now?” said Phoebe Connelly, deputy director of video at The Washington Post. “Right now, a huge video audience lives on Twitch. That is the appeal for us.”
Connelly also let it be known that the decision to use Twitch had nothing to do with Jeff Bezos owning both companies. As a matter of fact, the Washington Post was a big user of Facebook Live, during an attempt at figuring out how to instill live-video-watching behavior in people.
For a while there, Facebook handed out millions of dollars for people to create a live video, but when the free money stopped, publishers moved to greener pastures. The Post was doing as many as 175 live videos on Facebook a month - but has moved on - shifting the distribution of live videos to the Post’s own properties and YouTube.
With Twitch, the big difference is that the video audience is already there, Connelly said. “I think we kind of killed the idea of pivoting to video,” she said. “The misconception was if you build it, they will watch. The perspective at the Post is, we need to meet people where they are. With Twitch, we’re going into it knowing they’re already consuming video. This is one where we know the ‘watching’ box is already checked, and we need to figure out how to check the news- and story-shaping delivery.’”
The Twitch audience is the key to success
There are a couple of things with Twitch that needs to be considered when jumping into to using live video streaming. First - the Twitch audience is young. its core users are 18 to 34. And like Instagram and YouTube, the videos are user-generated and for the most part, are not professionally produced with all the bells and whistles.
And last, but certainly not least - Gaming is the major draw. There has been an increase of non-gaming videos, with BuzzFeed, Cheddar, and the NBA streaming either video-on-demand or live video on the platform. Michael Aragon, VP of content at Twitch, says IRL (In Real Life) and non-game marathons are also beginning to generate big audiences.
It will be interesting to see how the Washington Post does with its new shows. It doesn't actually have a model it can follow, and it will take time to build an audience that will come back.
More about Washington post, twitch, live streaming video, live news, politician interviews
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