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Television got a whole lot better

Sean Black's picture
I have spoken a lot about Twitch and its various suitors over the past couple of weeks – and while it may be getting a bit much, let’s beat at the dead horse.

Thinking about why I keep coming back to Twitch has yielded quite an astounding thought in my mind. Twitch is potentially the future of the broadcast medium, we may be currently seeing the baby steps of a broadcast revolution the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the television.
Clearly, with all the attention that Twitch is getting, big corporates agree – and that is important. Their longevity, as a company, depends solely on the future and future tech so essentially it is their job to look to revolutions such as this.
The willingness of Google, Microsoft, and Amazon to drop almost a billion dollars to acquire the service speaks volumes, and has to count for something, right?
And recently we have seen changes to the core Twitch service that point to it becoming ubiquitous as a streaming, and video consumption device. With the inclusion of live annotations on Google videos, and (more recently) a feature that allows individuals to promote other streams on their own channel – even if they aren’t live.
This, as Polygon has said, is inching Twitch streams closer to becoming something akin to television channels. ‘Host mode’ will allow channel owners to literally ‘host’ or embed someone else’s live video into your own website.
This may seem like a bit of an obvious and lacklustre feature but its potential is enormous. For the hosted channel it means greater exposure, and potentially more subscribers, and/or watchers.
An audience member is more likely to sit and stay tuned to your channel if they see you are somehow related to a channel they already are invested in.
It also raises potential viewership for the host because the views are tallied on their channel. It keeps people stuck to your website.
Another interesting potential is the new possibility for ‘aggregators’ or something close to a curated Twitch channel dedicated to one specific topic. There could be a channel dedicated to streaming live concerts, filmed AMA’s, or indie games – just like how the Crime & Investigation network is about, well, crime and investigation.

CEO Emmett Shear talks about Twitch as a new genre of television. (Source: BloombergTV)
This seems to a deliberate move by Twitch – moving closer to broadcast television – after senior product engineer Yoh Suzuki saying: “At our core, Twitch is a live video destination, so we're very interested in increasing the social connectivity between users.”

What that really means is that Twitch is looking to become the Internet alternative to television. It is looking to become the future of broadcast. Because, thinking about it, if those kinds of aggregated channels became a reality then Twitch is T.V. – only better, a lot better. 

For more on Twitch's history read Tracey Lien's wonderfully presented, long-form feature.

Follow me on Twitter @seanblack5044