Amazon’s Twitch Wants to Marry Commercials With Creators

Advertising isn’t a game for the people who run Twitch — but they are working to weave it more closely into the esports and other live-streamed programming beamed out by the Amazon-backed service every day.

Executives spent Monday evening making a pitch to advertisers that involves creating closer pairings between the people who create the content on the outlet and the brands that sponsor it. Twitch backs several live-streams, including owned-and-operated channels like Twitch Rivals and Twitch Sports as well as creator-led projects that can embrace advertising. Twitch also offers “Drops,” or in-game rewards offered to fans when they watch specific Twitch streams that can be backed by advertisers. Adobe tested the concept in March by sponsoring streams with six Twitch creators.

The company believes advertisers who want to reach younger consumers who may no longer watch TV in traditional fashion will be interested. Twitch’s base “is a younger audience,” says Sarah Iooss, head of sales for the Americas at Twitch, in an interview. Advertisers get put in front of a “lean-forward, live, interactive audience,” she says, which “heightens the emotions the community has. There is a real opening to receiving messages in those moments.”

Several advertisers have tested Twitch in the past. Lexus helped back a two-hour live-streamed game show called “Next Level,” for example in which the winner among four streamers is given a chance to launch a livestream on the Twitch homepage. AT&T sponsored an effort to match up-and-coming streamers with mentors and upgrades, and included them in commercials that appeared on the platform  Lexus and Twitch created “Next Level,” a two-hour livestreamed game show where the Twitch community voted on  which of  four up-and-coming streamers would be given the opportunity to make their most unique stream idea a reality. Twitch creator and singer-songwriter, Anelle, won the grand prize winner of a $20,000 cash grant and promotion of a future livestream on the Twitch homepage. The stream garnered more than 500K total views and over 1.4M minutes watched. Meanwhile, DoorDash created a commercial with Twitch featuring Anthony Kongphan, a popular Twitch creator. The ad debuted on Kongphan’s own channel.