Amazon rolled out Twitch Prime at this year’s TwitchCon and I’m convinced that it is the most genius marketing move of all time. Lets walk through it.
Amazon bought Twitch, a video game streaming site for ~$970M in 2014. At the time, the purchase was justified as buying the platform and audience to help it compete in the future of online video consumption against Netflix, Hulu and more importantly, YouTube. At the time of the sale, Twitch had 55 million users, accounted for over 40% of all online live video, and had users spending over 100 minutes per visit on the site.
Video streamers on twitch become celebrities and create communities with their viewers. Streamers get paid in a number of ways, but the most important is that fans can subscribe to their channel, typically for $5/month. There are usually some associated perks, but the main draw is to support the streamer and to be part of the community.
Needless to say, streamers have gotten extremely good at attracting subscribers with sub goals, calling subscribers out by name , and pushing the community aspects. It is hard to understate the strength of the communities that are created out of this system and the loyalty of subscribers – NPR should be jealous.
Into this comes Twitch Prime, where Amazon Prime members receive a number of Twitch-specific perks. The most important is that prime members receive one free channel subscription. Streamers get paid the same as for a regular subscription but prime members don’t pay anything.
The immediate effect is that all existing prime subscribers can have a lot of subscriptions that they can “give” to steamers, and there is some evidence of that happening –
Looking further out, the impact will go well beyond people connecting their Amazon and Twitch accounts.
Twitch Streamers are now Amazon Prime’s sales force.
Why just subscribe to a channel when you can sign up for Prime and get a ton of ever-expanding perks? Streamers are already adjusting –
The strength of this move is staggering – it takes a functional, fairly corporate product and makes it a badge of community for an attractive demographic resistant to other forms of marketing. It is every marketer’s goal to turn customers into advocates, but Amazon has, by making a small incentive tweak, introduced a whole new platform strategy that feels like a win to everyone involved.