Twitch is an online platform for streaming and watching digital video broadcasts mostly to do with gaming. People not into gaming would probably never have heard of this but with a viewership of close to a million Twitch beat many huge networks such as CNN and MSNBC. The platform boasts over 2 million unique streamers and watching the wide range of content on Twitch is completely free. Users need not even log in to view content. Having an account however lets you follow your favourite channels and enter a stream’s chat room to interact with other viewers.
Twitch’s content may not be as polished and refined as that of YouTube as the content is mostly streamed live, however, this is where its appeal lies. Viewers of Twitch tend to favour this authentic, unfiltered content from their favourite streamers where they can see their streamers’ true personalities, emotions and behaviour in real-time. As streams can go on for hours it is impossible for streamers to hide behind facades throughout the entire duration.
Real-time interaction on Twitch through live chat brings users closer to like-minded users that follow the same stream. Discussion of events happening in-game to the streamer during the stream such as an enemy’s unexpected attack leads to an exhilarating viewing experience and ultimately forms a sense of community between viewers.
Ultimately, the sustainability of any media network that relies on quality content depends on its ability to monetise the platform and pay its content creators. Twitch supports streamers through a Partner Program, an exclusive plan for users who have an established and steadily growing audience and chat, and broadcast regularly at least 3 times a week.
Twitch partners can earn money by getting a share from the advertisements displayed on their page and make about $0.90-$2 USD per 1000 views. Streamers also get to earn from paid channel subscriptions from viewers who wish to further support the channel. Viewers can watch content on the channel without paying but the subscription scheme allows users to support the channel financially by pitching in with monthly donations. In return, these subscribers get special emoticons (unique to every channel), virtual badges, special alerts that announce to viewers in a chatroom of the subscribers’ contributions, an exclusive subscriber-only chatroom and access to exclusive competitions. The subscription fee received is split evenly between Twitch and the streamer to ensure that the production of quality content is sustainable and content creators and retained on the platform.
On the surface, Kik is a mobile messaging application like Whatsapp where you can send messages, emojis and pictures to your friends. However, that’s mostly where the similarities with Whatsapp end.
Unlike Whatsapp, where you are tagged to your mobile number, Kik tags you to a username that you get to select. I mentioned in the previous article that Generation Z users are more mindful of their personal privacy and online presence. What makes Kik attractive is that users’ identities are represented by their usernames which helps to preserve their anonymity as details like email addresses and phone numbers are not made public on the app. Users can be assured of not just their personal security but also of their privacy as their activity on the app cannot be tracked or identified by others as long as they do not disclose their username.
Other than the security and anonymity, there are three features of the platform that makes Kik so appealing. The first is that users can choose groups that they would like to join based on their interests. This lets them find like-minded people whom they can share their thoughts freely with regarding the subject, be it football, wrestling, makeup, or other interests.
Kik also lets users add bots whom one can interact with by chatting. Nope, these are not the mean Instagram bots that you may have heard of but bots made for friendly interactions. You can chat with them, do quizzes, get fashion advice, news, and more. If you would like to have some fun with your friends, you could even bring a bot into your group chat and play games with them!
While chatting with your friends, Kik lets you not just express your thoughts and feelings through text, emojis and pictures but also GIFs, sketches, custom emojis, memes and many more. All these can be obtained within the app itself and to download more you can visit the various e-stores through the app’s built-in web browser.
You might well be surprised to see YouTube on the list, with all the talk about how other social media platforms like Musical.ly and Instagram are gaining in popularity with their Vine-like, short and creative content that cater to the audience’s demand for quick entertainment. YouTube has instead anchored itself in the lives of many as a media hub in the vein of television (TV) networks. Unlike conventional TV networks that schedule content on channels, YouTube exists as an on-demand service that allows users to watch the content they want whenever they choose to. A mind-blowing fact about YouTube is that almost 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube daily. To put that into context, that’s over 15 times the US population!
Instead of usurping TV networks as a provider of mainstream content, YouTube provides viewers with an avenue to access alternative genres of content such as song parodies, prank videos, vlogs (video blogs), make-up tutorials, etc. YouTube has gained such a cult following especially among the Gen Z crowd with 95% of Gen Z-ers using YouTube (the most of any platform) and 50% of Gen Z-ers feeling that it was the platform that they could not live without. YouTube’s appeal lies in its ease of uploading, streaming and sharing videos. A blogger could upload his/her videos within minutes and they become available to anyone with a smartphone, tablet or laptop almost immediately. These videos can then be shared on various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
YouTube’s influence can only increase in future and it is only a matter of time before mainstream media merges into YouTube. In fact, the process may have already started with many popular TV hosts such as Ellen DeGeneres and Jimmy Kimmel uploading key snippets of their respective shows onto their YouTube channels to reach online audiences. In fact, 6 out of 10 people prefer online video platforms to live TV and it is expected that by 2025, half of viewers under the age of 32 will not subscribe to a pay TV service.
Fun fact: Over 4500 hours of video were uploaded to YouTube, in the time it took you to finish reading this article. That’s half a year’s worth of video in about 15 minutes!
Due to the ever changing nature of the media landscape, it is hard to predict whether all of these platforms will stand the test of time or if there will be a newer, more advanced creation that will set ablaze a new social media revolution. Only time will tell.
This is part two in a series entitled ‘6 Key Platforms To Reach Gen Z’. The aim of this two-part series is to introduce to you 6 platforms that are important in reaching out to the Generation Z crowd. Click here if you missed part 1!