Live streaming specialist Justin.tv has had huge success lately in attracting gamers to the site, to broadcast — and watch — live streams of professional video gamers battling it out online. So just in time for this week’s E3 video game conference, Justin.tv is launching TwitchTV, a new brand and site devoted entirely to live streams of video games.
Over the last several months, Justin.tv has been working to grow its gaming vertical beyond the organic traffic that it’s already received. At the same time, it’s been courting advertisers specifically focused on the type of audience that competitive gamers draw.
The strategy appears to be paying off so far: The competitive gaming vertical has seen a four-fold increase over the last six month, growing to more than 3.2 million uniques a month. Those viewers are also highly engaged, racking up 45 million total video views, with each viewer tuning in to about 4.5 hours of live gaming per month. Justin.tv CTO Emmett Shear said in an interview that big tournaments can draw more viewers than some of its news events, with 50,000 to 80,000 concurrent viewers tuning in at the same time.
Justin.tv wanted to take advantage of that by creating a new brand and destination site for those broadcasters and viewers. As a result, it’s launching TwitchTV as a place solely for gamers to broadcast live streams of the matches they play. Shear said that electronic sports — or e-sports — were just like some of the major sports leagues, in that they attracted not just hardcore gamers, but spectators that might not be nearly as skilled. Comparing it to baseball or football, he said: “You don’t have to be a pro-level player to be interested in watching it.”
The live streaming company is sharing ad revenues with broadcasting partners on TwitchTV. And to increase monetization of the live streams, Justin.tv is allowing broadcasters to use mid-roll video ads that run in between matches. Justin.tv is also beta testing pay-per-view and subscription models that allow broadcasters to set rates for the streams that they set up.
This is the second new brand that Justin.tv has unleashed upon the world over the last several months, as it moves beyond its legacy live streaming business. Earlier this year Justin.tv launched Socialcam, a mobile app to allow users to post and share on-demand videos with their friends. That app hooks into Facebook and enables users to tag their friends in videos that get shared on the social network.