How Can Google's Streaming Platform Succeed?
A medium that has become synonymous with esports in both content delivery and fan acquisition is live streaming. For the past few years, the titan of this world has been Twitch TV (formerly Justin TV), the Amazon owned platform who dethroned Own3D. Since then, they've had very little competition in the western market, their only "threats" being no where near the brand power they carry. Some think that's all about to change, as in a few hours YouTube Gaming, Google's bid at the streaming market, will launch.
Amid concerns that the company's Content ID system (a guard put in place to prevent YouTube users from making money on copyrighted content) will limit the music that can be played while streaming, many in the gaming community are skeptical if any streamers will want to make the switch. Here's how I think the new platform can succeed against Twitch's monopoly in the perspective of eSports.
It's no secret that Google has a lot of money and one of the biggest draws for streaming on Twitch is the benefits it can provide various pro teams. These pro teams are some of the biggest streamers and draw in a large chunk of Twitch's viewer base. Offering a better contract to teams, whether it's through more money on ads or subscriptions to flat out providing a nice juicy signing bonus, is probably one of the best routes they can take on capitalizing on the esports audience. How would you feel if your favourite team was sponsored by YouTube?
Using their previously discussed deep pockets, there is another way they can draw in a customer base. The highest viewed esports streams have always been for competitive events, and buying into exclusive streaming deals can even lock the event into one platform. If the majority of majors for your favorite game were streamed exclusively on YouTube Gaming, would you still use the platform even if you hated it? If they do head down this path it will be interesting to see if Twitch responds using the same tactics.
Assuming that one's YouTube Gaming account is linked with their regular YouTube, the new platform can provide new opportunities to build viewership. By implementing a system where a subscription to a user's live channel also subscribes them to that user's traditional Youtube account, it would become much easier for streamers to build up a following. This allows them to automatically have two places to deliver content to a user base and theoretically make twice the money. Right now, a streamer has to request that viewers check out their channel and while many do, the decay rate on users viewing content on multiple platforms is high. Everyone knows how important building up a consistent audience is to professional players and teams alike, this could be the perfect way to do it.
These are the three main ways that I would use to grow YouTube Gaming's esports potential, but you never know, they might not even be after this side of the market. Besides esports, there are numerous streamers who act only as entertainers and couldn't play competitively if their life depended on it. Many of these people are already quite big on YouTube and have some even have a relationship with the company. If this is the path Google want to head down, Twitch will definitely be able to maintain its western esports monopoly or at least until a new worthy competitor comes along.
We're excited to see how the new platform will perform over its launch period. If it's good enough you might even see us switch over! Remember to follow us here at eSports Guru for all your competitive gaming needs and to check up on the evolving state of the streaming business.