TwitchTV is a spinoff of live streaming provider Justin.tv dedicated to video gamers broadcasting their competitions, tournaments and training sessions online. Justin.tv has long been focused on the gaming community, and introduced its partner program with a limited number of broadcasters six months ago, even before launching TwitchTV in June. Justin.tv Co-Founder and CTO Emmett Shear told me yesterday during a phone conversation that the partner program has been a full success: “We have gamers on TwitchTV that are literally quitting their day job.”
TwitchTV’s partner program offers participating broadcasters the ability to run pre-roll ads as well as interstitial ads, with gamers deciding themselves when ads are running. Partners can also offer subscriptions for their channels on TwitchTV, something one of the early beta participants has used for an NPR-syle voluntary contribution.
Shear didn’t want to reveal the details of the revenue sharing deal, but he said the CPM rates have been “competitive if not better” than what comparable video services are offering. Participation in the partner program is limited to those with certain metrics including a minimum number of concurrent average viewers, something Emmet credits for the high CPM rates.
TwitchTV isn’t the only site offering video gamers an option to monetize their live streams, and we’ve been fascinated by the growth of video game live streaming in part because it’s such an unlikely success story. People who aren’t into gaming often have a hard time understanding why anyone would even want to watch a broadcast of others playing games.
Gamers, on the other hand, often follow their favorite teams and players with the same dedication as traditional sports fans. Professional players are increasingly finding ways to make a living with their skills, with live streaming becoming one part of their revenue stream. Said Shear: “Some of these (teams) are quite sophisticated businesses in their own right.”