'Gamers are not a monolith': Twitch doubles down on its efforts in Asia Pacific

Twitch recently launched a Korean Baseball channels in South Korea, with a number of brands involved.

Twitch has been doubling down on Asia Pacific during the Covid-19 pandemic and wants to help brands and their media agency partners understand that gamers are not a monolith.

The Amazon-owned platform is also keen to emphasise that it is more than just the home of esports.

It recently hired former Spotify exec Sunita Kaur as its managing director for APAC and beefed up its sales teams in the region with the likes of former Crimtan managing director Tara Crosby as head of sales for South East Asia in Singapore and Ricky Chanana in the same role in Australia to lead the Oceanic region.

“Brands and their media partners need to understand that gamers are highly engaged viewers with varied interests and life experiences, just like any audience. It is also interesting to note the breadth and depth of the audience,” Steve Ford, vice president for sales in APAC at Twitch tells The Drum.

“The core behaviors we’ve seen on Twitch historically have shown that new users come to Twitch, find their community, and form lasting bonds with content creators.”

He adds: “These sales teams come with years of knowledge and expertise in advertising, and this is the first step to ensuring that our clients and prospects in the APAC region are able to understand our ad offerings and how we engage with our audiences.”

Globally, marketing budgets are drifting towards online video, gaming and communities, and interest in Twitch has been ramping up among brands. It is the same in APAC, where Twitch bills itself as the ‘future of entertainment’.

The platform wants to be known as a live, interactive, personality and content-based, community-driven video platform where anyone can play a role in creating the moment. According to Ford, Twitch aims to become a platform for "community-created content".

“When you invest in Twitch, you invest in an audience that participates and engages in their entertainment. Twitch is also the connection to today’s most sought-after audiences of cord-cutters and cord-nevers, millennials and generation Z who congregate here to meet those they trust, including influencers,” he explains.

“Currently, we are seeing an unprecedented surge in our audience in terms of hours watched and new creators on Twitch. While gaming is extremely popular, we have also seen a recent influx in organic non-gaming content, especially from the music, entertainment and sports industries. This influx shows more brands that Twitch is a valuable and diverse option for marketing and advertising efforts.”

Twitch has also started to explore new content verticals across the APAC region, where it is working with brands to make sure the experience lands in an authentic and meaningful way to Twitch’s communities. For example, it recently launched a Korean Baseball channel in South Korea, with a number of brands involved.

Globally, music is a big focus for the platform too, as new artists are turning to Twitch to find community now that touring has paused because of the pandemic. Recent examples include Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park and rapper/producer Logic, who just announced he will be streaming to Twitch exclusively.

Ford says Twitch expects people’s online habits will adjust as life returns to a sense of normalcy and real-world interaction become safer.

“We think there is a strong likelihood that they will maintain those relationships - and remain engaged on Twitch - after social distancing subsides,” he adds.

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