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Analysis: Twitch moves into short-form videos with new discovery feed

Analysis: Twitch moves into short-form videos with new discovery feed

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American video live-streaming platform Twitch is moving into short form video content with the launch of 'discovery feed', a scrollable feed in its mobile app that shows users a personalised mix of clips and live streams.

The feed aims to help viewers find content to enjoy quickly and help streamers get discovered, even when they’re not live, it said in a statement. 

There are two tabs within the feed – a live feed, and a clips feed. Users can scroll vertically through preroll-free previews of live streams in the feed and tap a streamer’s avatar to enter theater mode and join the live stream.

"We’re working on making it possible to enter a live stream just by tapping the screen in the near future," it said. 

Don't miss: Could Netflix's decision to stop reporting subscriber numbers hurt advertisers?

The clips feed lets users browse top moments from across Twitch, so they can discover content from streamers even when they’re not live. Users can also follow streamers directly from the feed. 

To add personalisation to the feed, users can utalise thumbs up and thumbs down buttons to let viewers signal what type of content they want to see more or less of in their personal feed.

This data will not be shared with the streamer or other viewers and will only impact the viewer’s individual feed experience, it said.

Currently, all live streams and clips will automatically be eligible to appear in the feed as long as they meet Twitch's content guidelines. Some content though will be restricted from appearing in the feed to foster a safer viewing experience.

There will also be ads within the content in the feed as users scroll. 

"These ads are scrollable just like any other content in the feed, to ensure a non-intrusive experience," it said. "We may continue to experiment with exactly how ads show up in the feed over time."

Since ads in the feed aren’t directly on a streamer’s channel, Twitch explained that streamers will not receive ad revenue. However, these ads still benefit streamers indirectly by helping Twitch maintain its service and can incentivise advertisers to bring more of their business to the platform.

More advertisers mean more potential ad revenue for streamers if they decide to run ads through our service.

It added that Twitch Turbo users will not see adds in their feed. Twitch Turbo is a paid service on the platform that allows users to watch streamers ad-free, increase their broadcast storage and enjoy a number of customisable features. 

Twitch's move into shortform content comes as video sharing platform TikTok faces a potential ban in the US due to fears that it is collecting sensitive user data and censoring content.

Twitch also joins other major social platforms such as Instagram and YouTube which have already pivoted strongly towards short form video content amidst declining consumer attention spans. 

The rise of short-form video content

In fact, it was found in a recent study that consumers today watch more videos and that the demand for short-form content has rapidly increased, with 66% finding the type of content to be the most engaging.

This was according to a report done by Munch, an AI-powered automation platform for social media. According to the report, video content is no longer an option, but a necessity for business and brands aiming for success, with 42% of businesses preferring Instagram and 26% preferring Facebook to post such videos.

However, with so many major players already in the market, how will Twitch maintain its unique selling point as a livestreaming space for gamers and is the market already too oversaturated to break in? 

According to David Soo, managing director at PHD Malaysia, Twitch is simply making itself more in-line with current social behavior and usage. He said:

I don't think Twitch's new feed is replacing long-form content. Rather, the introduction of short-form content is about being relevant to the demands of the consumers.

He added that the new format does allow more ways to discover new content for users which is a great way for it to remain competitive. "I would assume that Twitch will continue to focus on the space of gaming and creativity (self-expression) as their core focus regardless of its move into short form format as well," he added. 

Keeping the focus on gaming 

Adding to his point, Ranganathan Somanathan, as senior leader in the media industry, said that while long-form, interactive streaming is the strength, done well, short-form videos have the potential to complement livestreams by offering highlights, teasers, and behind the scenes moments to drive discoverability and community engagements.

"They could differentiate from other platforms by not losing their focus on gaming," he said, explaining that the experience enhancements could come in the way of snippets of speed runs, unique challenges attempted during streams, level up hacks, tips and discoverable content from professional esports matches.

"Wrapping it up with interactive elements will drive engagement and community development," he said, adding that he doesn't see the potential banning of TikTok as an opportunity for Twitch but rather a temporary distraction from the gaming core.

He added that instead of directly competing with other social platforms, Twitch should focus on the gaming ecosystem and create a clear and fair revenue sharing model for streamers creating short form content to incentivise them.

The news comes shortly after Amazon laid off about 500 employees across Twitch in January this year. 

In a memo, Twitch's CEO, Dan Clancy, explained that the company has been working to build a more sustainable business and has cut costs and made many decisions to be more efficient in the process. 

"Unfortunately, despite these efforts, it has become clear that our organisation is still meaningfully larger than it needs to be given the size of our business," he said. 

Join us on 12 June 2024 for an exciting experience as Content360 makes its debut in Malaysia! Brace yourself to join the crème de la crème of the content marketing industry hailing from across the region. Immerse yourself in a dynamic atmosphere, and uncover the latest trends with thought leaders and solution providers from the realm of content.

Photo courtesy of Twitch (Press Centre)

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