Watch out, YouTube — Amazon Has Big Plans


In an attempt to compete with video giant YouTube, Amazon has been making moves to widen the scope of their live streaming platform, Twitch. Historically, Twitch has been a destination for video game live streaming, and boasts “140MM+ unique monthly viewers,” with users spending “an average of 95 minutes daily watching live gaming.” By contrast, YouTube has 1.8 billion monthly users, within reach of Facebook’s 2 billion. To compete with YouTube, Twitch has been soliciting exclusive deals with popular content creators and companies, many of which are popular on YouTube.

Amazon actually has a chance

This isn’t the first time Amazon has focused on social content. Just over a year ago, for example, Amazon launched Spark, an Instagram-like feed of photos for Amazon Prime members. The platform performed poorly, with users citing criticisms surrounding the app’s blatant promotional nature, along with its lack of user friendliness. Twitch, however, is a different story — the live streaming website was popular before being purchased by Amazon in 2014, and because of shifts in the industry, has a real chance to compete with big players like YouTube.

Content creators on YouTube have been looking for an alternative for over a year now, triggered in part by the “Adpocalypse,” an event in which YouTube reacted to controversy by pulling advertising (and, as a result, revenue streams) from an endless string of creators. Many YouTubers and podcast personalities have already started streaming on Twitch, even if their content has nothing to do with video gaming.

Why it matters

Twitch is part of Amazon’s ecosystem, and outside of its own revenue streams and the advantages it brings to AWS, the service draws in a substantial number of customers for the retail marketplace. Twitch Prime, a package that is automatically bundled with Amazon Prime, gives Twitch users a host of perks, including “free games and in-game loot.” Because Twitch Prime subscribers automatically gain access to the benefits of Amazon Prime, they’re more likely to engage with their benefits — Prime Members across the board have been shown to spend nearly twice as much as non-members. Similar to their strategy with original television content, Amazon is leveraging Twitch as a funnel to gain loyal shoppers from varying demographics. If Twitch can eventually take the video crown from YouTube, Amazon will see further integration into their ecosystem, and as a result, more sales, more data, and more dedicated customers.