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Livestream wars

Livestream wars

xQc, the king of video-game livestreaming, is leaving Amazon-owned platform Twitch for Australian start-up Kick – and he’s not alone

Long stories short

  • Investment in military tech start-ups is booming with more than 200 deals signed this year alone.
  • Adobe’s $20 billion deal to acquire rival Figma faces an antitrust investigation in the EU.
  • Joe Tsai, the owner of the Brooklyn Nets, was named as Alibaba’s new chairman.

Livestream wars

A Canadian live-streamer called xQc – real name Félix Lengyel – is preparing to sign a $100 million deal to leave Twitch, the Amazon-owned streaming platform.

So what? The move could transform the economics of online entertainment. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s $20 million deal with Spotify is often seen as the high water mark of the podcast boom. But the sum is peanuts compared to what platforms are prepared to pay to top live-streamers.

Lengyel’s two-year deal to join Kick, a new Australian streaming platform, puts him on a par with LeBron James, one of the world’s highest paid athletes.

Streaming king. Lengyel is unknown to most people over the age of 30. But in the live-stream world he is a king. The 27 year-old has 12 million followers on Twitch who watch him playing video games, doing tricks and talking about “juice”. Like other popular livestreamers, Lengyel earns money by selling subscriptions and allowing fans to “tip” him if they enjoy the content.  

He’s not the only creator getting rich this way. Jakey Boehm, a TikToker, earned $34,000 in one month on TikTok Live by charging viewers to come up with different ways to disrupt his sleep. Nigerian pastor Jerry Eze made $80,000 on his YouTube channel in a few weeks by using Super Chat, a tipping tool unveiled in 2017.

Big tech companies like Amazon, YouTube and TikTok have invested millions in live streaming services, because they encourage user interaction and create “stickier” communities than many other types of social media.

By the numbers

95 – billion US dollars, the value of the global video streaming market this year, according to Statista.

3 – brands pay up to three times more for sponsored TikTok live videos compared to static posts, according to Business Insider.

7 – million, the number of monthly streamers on Twitch, Amazon’s live-streaming platform. It’s been valued at $45 billion and has 31 million daily viewers.

Twitch vs the rest. Market leader Twitch takes 50 per cent of most of its users’ subscription earnings. This is a major bone of contention for stars like Lengyel and has allowed start-ups like Kick to make headway.

Kick is only five months old and is backed by a group of online gaming and gambling sites in Australia. Its promise to take only 5 per cent of streamers’ earnings from subscriptions has given Twitch’s biggest stars a major incentive to switch.

Earlier this month, popular video game streamer Ninja said he was ditching Twitch for Kick. “Alright f**k it we’re getting off Twitch,” he said in his final Twitch stream. Other creators to join Kick include Adin Ross, an Andrew Tate fan who was banned from Twitch temporarily for misogynistic comments.

Moderation problems. Despite having lots of money to spend, Kick has not yet developed sophisticated moderation, which is potentially dangerous. But Lengyel’s deal is a sign that the live-streaming bandwagon is only just starting to roll.

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Alexi Mostrous