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Amazon’s Twitch.tv Targets Artisans and Makers

The eight-year-old Twitch.tv has been a vibrant focal point primarily for video gamers who use it to share their gameplay with anyone who wants to watch. Twitch claims to have millions of broadcasters using the service, with the most popular ones earning significant money from it. And now it’s going after artisans and makers.

Twitch started out in 2007 as part of another streaming site, Justin.tv. It became Twitch in June 2011. Three years later, Amazon acquired Twitch for reportedly around a billion dollars, when Google opted not to make the buy itself.

The company recently announced expanded and focused support for the Twitch Creative community. “All along, the Twitch community has included a determined community of artists, crafters and builders, who have been using Twitch to broadcast their creative processes,” Twitch’s Employee No. 2, Bill, noted.

Like gamers sharing their play, other people share streams of how they bring their creative visions to reality. This community on Twitch received a new dedicated landing page. Visitors will notice how Twitch’s partner in this endeavor, Adobe, receives prominent display.

Twitch Creative supports a new tagging system introduced by the company recently. “This is intended to help broadcasters identify the activity they’re engaged in: things like #drawing, #animation, #watercolor, or #robotics,” Bill noted.

The kickoff for Twitch Creative also brought back memories of a certain notable painter whose television work showcased his ability. At launch, Twitch Creative began broadcasting all 403 episodes of painter Bob Ross’s TV show, The Joy of Painting.

Though EcommerceBytes hasn’t noted much discussion of Twitch Creative in the usual places where creative online sellers reside, the service presents an interesting opportunity for those who craft goods for sale. Plenty of people sell handmade items on sites like Etsy and eBay, and of course Amazon Handmade exists in that niche too.

Videos created to help merchants draw more eyeballs have proved effective already. Not every merchant who’s up to making YouTube product and how-to videos will be suited for streaming, but there could be a few capable and willing to display their creative process on a Twitch stream.

One commenter on Reddit worried about what the growth of Twitch Creative could mean going forward. Twitch stream Legendary Vegan said, “I liked the fact that the Creative channel was generally small enough to scroll through the whole thing and see what everyone was up to at a glance, and the featured videos may take away from that discoverability it granted.”

Twitch staffer Eleine responded to this, noting, “We’ll work hard to curate it in such a way as to promote the discovery of new, interesting streamers in the future.”

If nothing else it represents another way for ecommerce pros to give their brands a point of difference compared to others. As EcommerceBytes noted over the summer, Amazon’s Video Shorts appeared to be trying to do a number of things, including promoting given brands.

Those who want to try out Twitch Creative will want to note the company’s Rules of Conduct, which were recently updated. Most importantly, Creative streamers should be original.

“The primary focus of a Twitch Creative broadcast should be the process of creating an entirely original work or original content that could be copyright protected. Broadcasts that involve replicas or derivative creations of others’ copyrighted content may be subject to DMCA takedown by a rights holder,” the rules note. Their Creative FAQ discusses more examples of permissible activities for that streaming category.

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David A Utter
David A Utter
David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.