Twitch co-founder Justin Kan is bringing back his groundbreaking 24-7 “life-stream” channel but he’s moving it over to Snapchat.
Justin.tv was launched back in 2007 as a personal webcast he created with a webcam attached to a hat that he wore almost all of the time. His live streaming eventually led to Twitch, the video game streaming site that continues to add new types of content and marketing opportunities. Justin.tv and Twitch had enormous influence on both streaming content and the creation of additional platforms like Periscope, Meerkat and Kanvas. Twitch sold to Amazon in 2015 for close to $1 billion and Justin.tv closed up in 2014.
Now, Justin is coming back to live streaming via Snapchat. Kan says on his blog that he’s ‘become obsessed’ with Snapchat, which he feels is on the verge of going mainstream. Snapchat, with over 200 million daily users, has become one of the more popular social and communication apps for Millennials and Gen Z audiences and a staple for brands to reach out to those generations.
The packaging and ease of Snapchat Stories is what inspired Kan to get back to his live-streaming roots, even though he was initially unsure about the platform. On his website, he notes that his initial reaction was that of many older users, “I tried it, mostly for industry research purposes, found the UI confusing, saw I had very few friends active, felt old, and then didn’t open it for two years.”
A Snapchat Story from DJ Khaled that chronicled being lost in the dark on a jet ski inspired Kan since the story retained all the compelling bits of what was experienced. He saw that Snapchat removed the friction of recording and gave creators the chance to self-edit the more interesting aspects of an individual’s life. He also equates Snapchat with Twitch, noting that it’s essentially “another social network entirely made up of linear channels with a low cost of content creation.”
Kan was vague about the content that will be featured on his story but his endorsement of Snapchat’s platform as one for creators was quite clear, even as he casually mocks Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in the same post. This vote of confidence for the platform from an influential industry figure will certainly be welcome to Snapchat, which has already stepped up its efforts to appeal to brands after a year of interesting campaign experimentation. 2016 may well be the year when Snapchat breaks in an even bigger way, as Kan predicts.