The other day, I wrote about some of the controversial changes implemented by Twitch TV. The streaming site had recently brought in new policies that effectively wiped large swathes of pre-recorded video content, and was using fairly draconian anti-copyright infringement technology which mutes half hour of audio in a video if the technology recognises music being played. This is a pretty blunt tool to use, and problems were compounded by reports that content that should not have been flagged as copyright infringing was being flagged as such.
Now we have what appears to have been the reason for all of this. Amazon has made public that it is tentatively in the process of buying Twitch TV. This seems like something of an odd move, and I personally have been wondering why Amazon are interested in Twitch. It certainly doesn’t seem like the most wildly profitable website on the internet, even with some pretty annoying adverts. It’s true that they have some subscribers, and people who pay for premium level accounts (which is all the more worth it now that premium accounts have their videos saved for much longer than normal accounts), but I can’t imagine that amounts to a whole lot of money. However, a comment on an article about this news over at Rock Paper Shotgun summed up Amazon’s potential motivations very nicely:
“Well, let me show you the ingredients to Amazon’s master plan:
1) a video service, that competes with Netflix – Amazon Instant
2) The Amazon Kindle gaming/video streaming device device
3) A proprietary ecosystem – the Amazon appstore/video store, etc
4) Amazon game studios, which they now have now they’ve bought Double Helix
5) The world’s largest user video streaming service – Twitch, or whatever Amazon rebrands it as.
All tied into Amazon’s storefront and app recommendation engine. All together it leads to a massive, consumer based store, using a whole lot of data to sell you shit. It’s a massive monopoly on video entertainment, in a way. Play Amazon games, watch Amazon videos, watch OTHER people playing games, listen to commentary. All tied in.”
This all seems fairly plausible to me. Even just using Twitch to try and more closely rival Netflix is a possibility. Of course, whether anyone would actually use Twitch in this way is another matter. Once again though, this is a clear example of just what big business sites like Twitch have become, and there is some overlap with livestreaming and let’s plays in general. As I mentioned in that previous article, all this still feels very much in a state of flux right now.
The sale for Twitch hasn’t even been completed yet, but it will be interesting to see what kind of service it is going to become under Amazon. But, I’m certain it won’t be quite the wild west frontier that it was just a few months ago.