The Washington Post is looking for new ways to engage younger audiences. On Monday, The Post announced it was launching a channel on Twitch to stream live coverage of “must-watch news and political events.” The first event was Monday morning when Libby Casey hosted a live stream about President Donald Trump’s and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s first summit. Casey was joined by White House reporter David Nakamura and audience editor Gene Park to break down the summit and the ramifications it holds for our nation.
Twitch, of course, has a young, predominantly male audience. According to Twitch, which is now owned by Amazon, 91.5 percent of Twitch users are male and 55 percent of them are between the ages of 18 and 34. Twitch has 15 million daily active users who spend an average of 95 minutes a day watching live gaming and connecting with Twitch broadcasters and creators. Twitch also has 140 million unique monthly viewers.
In addition to live programming with Casey, The Post’s Twitch channel will feature a series called “Playing Games with Politicians” by Post political reporter Dave Weigel. Over a 30- to 60-minute live stream, Weigel will interview politicians about top political news and headlines as they play a video game. Rep. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) will be featured in the first season.
“Our first streaming experiment on Twitch was for Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony on Capitol Hill, and the real-time conversations and engagement showed us there was interest in news and analysis on the service,” said Phoebe Connelly, deputy director of video at The Washington Post in a blog post. “We are excited to explore other video storytelling opportunities and share our political expertise with this vibrant community.”
The Washington Post Twitch channel has rules (e.g., don’t dismiss or insult others, keep the chat appropriate for all ages, etc.) and three hosts. It also offers a free digital subscription to The Post for 30 days, a nice trial opportunity for Twitch users. One difference about The Post’s channel versus other channels is that The Post doesn’t accept bits because they deem them to be like donations. They have also turned off cheer badges. Instead, they want users to subscribe to Twitch or to The Post.
Of course, Jeff Bezos owns or has a majority stake in The Post and Twitch (and Amazon), so the Twitch channel is a smart play. Though there is a cost for The Post’s staff and the production of content, the content can repurposed and this venue gets The Post’s content in front of an audience of at least 15 million people. That’s huge!
Even more importantly, Bezos knows how to do subscriptions – Amazon Prime, Amazon Channels, The Washington Post, Twitch…this is just one more foray into a proven business model that has made Bezos the richest man in the world. Though the topics are different, this move reminds us a bit of Cheddar who has made news fun and interesting for millennials, serving up must-read content via live stream. We think this move will be another big win for Bezos and The Washington Post.