If you know the history of Twitch, you know the company spun out of a mishmash of live-streaming channels managed by Justin.tv, its original parent company which developed the user-generated streaming product. Twitch proved to be Justin.tv's runaway success, while other channels remained comparatively obscure.
Twitch Creative's Joy of Painting marathon, replete with hashtags, drew a large viewing audience. (Screenshot: twitch.com)
That's why it is somewhat poetic to see Twitch testing the waters with a channel outside its core gaming vertical. Twitch Creative, launched Oct. 28 by the Amazon-owned live-streaming provider, lets viewers watch artists create their works live -- and Twitch is deploying happy little trees, so to speak, to catch viewers' attention with a multiday Bob Ross marathon.
"There are a few things that make the Creative category unlike anything else on Twitch, so we, along with our launch partner Adobe, are excited to see what you dream up," said Bill Moorier, head of Twitch Creative, in a blog post announcing the launch. Adobe is sponsoring the site.
Twitch Creative has a separate landing page from the main Twitch website, with a featured video carousel that displays just videos related to the channel. Creators can use hashtags in their titles to improve video discovery.
Twitch also gained the rights to all 403 episodes of Bob Ross' The Joy of Painting series, which will stream continuously for eight-plus days beginning Oct. 29 to celebrate the launch with as many happy little trees as a person can handle.
Like its main gaming streams, viewers have the opportunity to provide live feedback on the creative process of artists as they stream their work, and viewer interest – tepid for other Creative streams during its first full day – took off as The Joy of Painting marathon started up Thursday afternoon. Within 10 minutes more than 16,000 viewers were watching the stream.
Creative represents one of the bigger moves that Twitch has made since being acquired by Amazon in 2014. However, as competitors led by YouTube Gaming move in on its live-streaming lead, it's clearly time for the service to try a few new tactics to stay ahead.
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