Twitch can Topple YouTube Right Now

Twitch can Topple YouTube Right Now

Recently, Twitch has seen an explosion of views. Just last week, Ninja and GDQ (the two top regular streams at the time) alone saw around 200k viewers between them when they were both live. PS If you don’t know what GDQ is, I wrote about it here. The site has been growing exponentially recently, due to the increased mainstream media coverage, and is about to reach as much of the audience as it can. The thing is, some people just don’t want live content, and not everybody wants gaming content. They have temporarily staved this desire for something else with the introduction of the IRL and Creative categories, but that can only go so far. However, they have a really strong choice for another option.

On the other side of online video content. Youtube is completely crapping the bed. They did an experiment where they messed up creator’s content on purpose, and they constantly do similar things on accident. Creators are getting more and more jaded with the platform, but are staying on, because there isn’t another option. There used to be Vidme, but that didn’t have the numbers to support themselves and closed down. However, in their final closing announcement, they pointed out something important:

The definition of “scale” has changed, and attracting audiences away from existing platforms is harder than ever

This is totally true, and twitch is at the point where they have the numbers and the money to support themselves. The company is currently worth approximately 4 billion dollars at the time of writing, and as such, have quite a bit of financial runway. The thing is, is they have a pretty stable non-live video service, with integrated chat that with a few tweaks, could work as a good replacement for comments. They just need to do a few things to make it work.

         1.) Make the Videos more Prevalent

A screenshot indicating where videos are found within Twitch

Twitch’s videos are pretty hidden right now, and you can only find them by clicking the video tab within a specific channel. If you can make those videos searchable, and indexed outside of the boundaries of the channel, prerecorded videos will be much more watched. While you can currently search by a game as well, that isn’t going to help the majority of creators who want to make short-form content. Videos are currently used for VODs or saved streams for archival / rewatching, but that isn’t what YouTubes videos are for. Youtube’s videos are (arguably) primarily about personality-driven content, and rarely long-form gaming or activities. If they can just make the videos more accessible, they have basically made a better video platform than YouTube.

         2.) Improve the Layout

The layout right now is very stream-centric. That works for Twitch right now, but if they want to make videos more prevalent, they need to fix the layout. I don’t like approximately 99% of the things YouTube does, but they have a damn good layout figured out. If Twitch could grift some of the better parts of the layout from YouTube, and make it a bit more Stream-Centric to suit their needs, they could go a long way to making the site more mainstream-friendly.

Attached below is a helpful mockup I made that would be the objectively best UI for Twitch to use.

A goofy mock-up for a potential Twitch logo

         3.) Don’t F*** it Up Twitch, please

This THEORETICALLY should be the simplest for Twitch, but just don’t be like YouTube. Twitch is in a good position since they have the market cornered on live streaming, so they have a good revenue stream already. Youtube didn’t have that kind of safety net, so when Google acquired them, they had to start pandering to the advertisers quickly. This is the main reason for all the anti-creator policies and other things that YouTube implemented recently. Twitch gets a lot of revenue directly from players. That means they have a revenue stream that doesn’t require them to appease a company. This already puts them in a WAY better position, and if they can keep it together, they will come out as the winners.

A Speech Bubble Yelling at the Youtube Logo

Twitch isn’t the only one in a position to give YouTube a run for its money. Instagram is reportedly getting into videos with Instagram TV, but I don’t necessarily trust Facebook more than I do Google. To get into the video streaming industry right now, you need a hell of a lot of viewers out the gate to even think about contending with the big boys. So the fact that Twitch can really easily take the place of Youtube is really good right now. However, it is owned by Amazon, which is only kinda better right now than the other two. Also, Amazon has a pretty big monopoly in a lot of industries right now (online shopping, tv streaming, game streaming, smart home technology, etc.) and giving them another monopoly isn’t great.

A list of companies owned by amazon, including audible, alexa, zappos, woot!, and more
Companies Owned by Amazon

On the other hand, Google has equally as many monopolies if not more, and taking one away from them would be kinda cool. So while there are some problems with Twitch becoming the biggest video giant, it far outweighs the bad in my opinion.