Twitch and Netflix have ‘replaced TV’ among the millennial audience – claims tech founder

The millennial generation has replaced television viewing with streaming platforms where they can interact and feel part of a community – and the group is willing to accept native advertising as part of the deal – the Twitch founder Kevin Lin has claimed.

Suggesting that young people wanted a more meaningful experience than just receiving content, Kevin Lin told delegates at the Adweek Asia conference in Tokyo today that the Twitch community was more than willing to accept native advertising.

They would embrace it as part of the experience, just as long as the ads were tailored and the content was free – he said.

Amazon-owned Twitch has more than 116 million active monthly users, who spend an average of 90 minutes a day on the platform – claimed Lin.

“This young audience has replaced TV with Twitch and Netflix,” he said. “We are bigger than most television networks these days.”

Twitch allows users to engage on a live feed with its three million content creators. It is mainly focused on the gaming and esports community, but also screens TV shows and sporting events where people can watch together in real-time and communicate with each other while doing do.

“When I am watching TV on Twitch, it feels like I am watching with friends,” said Lin. “It’s a very different experience, as the audience become the commentators.”

Content creators have the opportunity to run ads or experiential activations at their chosen time within their stream. The top-earning hosts – like prominent Fortnite gamer Ninja – were said to be making US$500,000 per month from ad commissions and viewer donations, according to Lin.

An example of an experiential activation might include a gamer pausing to eat a pot of noodles and talking about it to their community as they do so. This was sometimes amplified by traditional ads, said Lin.

“Instead of pre-rolls, we have broadcaster-activated mid-rolls,” he explained. “The creators decide which ads to run and when, and they take a commission on that.

“When it’s a good ad, the community actually engages with it and starts talking about the work. The willingness to watch advertising is a choice that the audience makes because they want to support the community of creators. They are open to advertising.

Lin says streaming platforms are dominant

“Twitch is a pipe, it’s a distribution platform. But it can bring people together around the world in a meaningful way. There is a level of engagement that you just don’t get elsewhere. You, as a fan, are part of the show.”

Exposure to ads accounts for only 3 to 10% of the viewer’s time on Twitch, compared to 25% for linear television – said Lin.

Twitch also hosts TV marathons of old episodes of shows like Dr Who. “We have brought those brands back into the public eye,” said Lin

“For those shows, it’s a whole new audience that might not have been aware of them before.”


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