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Twitch is the 4th largest stream of data on the internet.1)Study by Deepfield original published in Wall Street Journal (paywall :/). Gamespot syndicated article. Conclusion: People really like watching each other play video games.
I’ve always been curious about how people find content on Twitch, so I dug into the discovery process in aggregate. The most striking result I found is the terrible performance of sessions (See: Appendix) that start on offline channel pages. Broadcasters get almost nothing from a third of their hard earned direct traffic, because their channel is offline. If you follow a link to a Twitch channel, the broadcaster could easily be sleeping. In contrast Tweets provide a consistent destination; tweets are only offline if Twitter is down.
It’s no surprise, then, that “broadcast more” is one of our most common pieces of advice for growing your audience on Twitch. I recommend broadcasters take advantage of Host Mode 2)Host Mode release blog post. Drew Harry’s post on who hosts who. to keep their channel live. Part of my motivation for this post is that broadcasters cannot see the size of this problem from the dashboard.
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When we launched Host Mode in late July 2014, we weren’t sure how people would use the feature. The ability for broadcasters to choose to host another live channel when they weren’t broadcasting has lots of potential uses:
- A content recommendation system for broadcasters
- A cross-promotional tool for teams of broadcasters to direct their audience to a newly-live partner channel
- A way for people to create more intimate chat rooms to co-watch popular channels
- Or, something else entirely!
Now that Host Mode has been in the wild for some time, we wanted to share some insights about how it’s been used and the impact it’s having on the Twitch community. In particular, we wanted to explore one specific question: What kinds of channels are using Host Mode and who are they hosting?
Twitch has grown so quickly this year that it’s hard to keep track of all the amazing subgroups and communities that call Twitch home. To illustrate this, our Science team has recently been building visual maps of the Twitch world and we’re thrilled to share them with you!
NOTE: Visualization and layout were completed using an open source tool called Gephi. Click any image to enlarge.
In this map, each circle is a specific channel on Twitch. The lines between channels represent the amount of overlap between the audiences of those channels; each time a specific viewer watched two different channels during the time period this data draws from, it makes the connection between those channels a little stronger. Because we’re only drawing on a short time period in December, not all channels are represented here, and sizing only approximates activity in that time period.
Starting today, you can Follow Games on iOS and Android just like web.
Once you follow a game, you can access it from our revamped “Following” section. This new view has three parts:
- All your followed channels & games that are currently live.
- A listing of all your followed channels.
- A listing of all your followed games.
At any time, you can tap the heart icon on any game’s page to follow or unfollow it.
Notification Center Widget for iOS 8
For those running iOS 8, you have the option to install our widget for Notification Center. This lets you see what’s live — even from the lock screen. If you’re logged in, the widget will display top followed channels, and if you are not, it shows featured broadcasts.
Oh, wait. You’ve got an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus too? This update includes native support for your new device. The UI for iPhone 6 Plus now features three columns of games in the Directory, making it way easier to browse.
Broadcast Titles & More Shine for Android
Aside from Following Games, our Android update lets you see more info about the channels you like. The profile now includes bio info, number of followers, and total views. And, if you want to see titles for a specific broadcast, you can enable this feature app wide. Simply go to “Settings” and turn them on.
On October 22 at 8am PDT/11am EDT/4pm BST, we will perform site maintenance for approximately 5-15 minutes. During this maintenance window, note the following experience:
- If you’re already connected to the site and broadcasting or viewing, your experience should not be affected. However, navigating away from the page you’re on will result in seeing the maintenance page.
- If you’re not connected or attempt to navigate around the site, you’ll see the maintenance page. Connections include logins, broadcast attempts, and API requests.
We’ll send reminders before the maintenance at ~48 hours and ~24 hours, respectively. Follow @TwitchSupport on Twitter for the latest updates.
London POP Upgraded 1500%!
We’d like to take this chance to inform you that we’ve upgraded our London Point of Presence (POP) a full 1500% of previous capacity. (Yes, 1500%!) We hope you’ll set your phasers to fun and turn up your flux capacitors to 1.21 jigawatts.
Hey broadcasters and partners! Now that we’ve built out our internal statistics pipeline, broadcaster and partner dashboards will see some changes over the coming months. Next up for improvement are subscriber and per-broadcast stats, which will give the broadcaster (you!) more insight into how individual broadcasts are performing; we’ll be tracking when you change broadcast details and pairing up your stats with them.
Before we get to the improvements, we’ve moved over some resource-intensive charts to our internal stats system:
- Concurrent Viewers
- Max Concurrent Viewers
- Time Watched
- Time Broadcast
- Name, position, and when you started at Twitch.
Mike Perrone (Thrice in chat ^_^), Software Engineer Intern, started the beginning of the summer in May. Just recently, I’ve started working part time, remotely from college.
- Where were you prior to starting at Twitch?
I’ve been going to school at Worcester Polytechnic Institute as a Computer Science major, and last summer I was an intern at a Big Data healthcare startup, Kyruus, based out of Boston.
- When you’re not at the office, you’re…
…biking/jogging around the city, eating at one of the many delicious vegan restaurants in San Francisco, or more likely, I’m at my apartment watching Starcraft II on Twitch.
- Where did you hear about Twitch/your position at Twitch?
As announced 20 days ago, at 2pm PDT today, August 27th, the next steps in our VOD storage system will begin to take place.
Past broadcasts will begin to be removed from Twitch servers. This also marks the beginning of the new VOD storage system:
- Past broadcasts will now be saved for 14 days for all broadcasters,
- And 60 days for Twitch Turbo subscribers and members of the Twitch Partner Program.
If you would like to keep your past broadcasts, you can easily export them to YouTube or create highlights with our new Video Manager. Additionally, you can save locally right when you start broadcasting.
These changes take us one step closer to our ultimate goal: to deliver the highest quality video across multiple platforms.
Three weeks ago we launched the first version of Host Mode, then followed that up with an FAQ. You all very clearly asked: “How do I know know who is hosting my channel and how many viewers are they driving to my video?”
Today, we’re excited to announce an update that addresses these very issues. Host Mode now includes Broadcaster Notifications. When you’re broadcasting and someone begins to /host you, you’ll get a notification of who is hosting you and how many viewers they are driving to your video.
The notification will now appear in your Chat, so you and your viewers will know who is hosting you.
Hopefully this takes the guesswork out of the question: “Where did all these viewers come from?!”
But this is just the first step toward a more robust, informative Host Mode. Soon you will also get a notification in your Broadcaster Dashboard. Stay tuned for more exciting updates straight from your suggestions.
Over the last two days, you’ve provided us with an incredible amount of feedback about the new Video Manager, VOD storage, and Audio Recognition system. We take your opinions very seriously, and we’re acting on your concerns.
First, effective tonight, the maximum time limit on highlights will be removed. You will once again be able to create highlights of any length and they will be saved indefinitely.
Secondly, we’re deploying an “appeal” button for VODs that have been flagged for copyrighted music by the new Audio Recognition system. We recognize that the system is not yet perfect. We want to make this system as fair and unobtrusive as possible, and we greatly appreciate your help.
Thank you again for all of your comments, tweets, emails, messages, and for taking part in Emmett’s AMA. We read all of your feedback and we take it seriously. Expect more changes, more clarity, and more improvements on our recent updates in the days to come.
We understand that you may have additional questions. Feel free to join Emmett on tomorrow’s Twitch Weekly from 2:00-2:30 PST. He’ll be answering questions via Twitch chat or Twitter.
[UPDATE 9:20 AM PT Aug 7]: Today’s AMA with Emmett Shear will now be hosted on /r/IAmA. Please join us at 10:30 AM PST.
Please Note: Audio Recognition applies to VODs only.
Starting today, Twitch will be implementing technology intended to help broadcasters avoid the storage of videos containing unauthorized third-party audio. We respect the rights of copyright owners, and are voluntarily undertaking this effort to help protect both our broadcasters and copyright owners.
[UPDATE 2:45 PM PT Aug 7]: The YouTube Exporter is back in service. Thank you for your patience.
[UPDATE 9:20 AM PT Aug 7]: Today’s AMA with Emmett Shear will now be hosted on /r/IAmA. Please join us at 10:30 AM PST.
[UPDATE 10:50 AM PT Aug 6]: We need to temporarily disable the YouTube Exporter so that we can resolve increased capacity issues. The fix will take a day and should be ready for use again tomorrow.
Our goal at Twitch is straightforward: deliver the highest quality video. This includes the ability to watch video on demand (VOD) on all of our platforms, not just the website.
In order to create a system that supports live and VOD across the globe and on multiple platforms, we need to make significant changes to the way we’re currently storing video. Today, we’d like to discuss what these changes are, why they’re necessary, and how they benefit the entire Twitch community now and in the future.
Ask and ye shall receive. Below are some of the most frequent questions we’ve received for Android V3.0. Keep them coming!
How do I change transcodes/video quality?
- Tap on the video player to bring up the settings icon (looks like a cog).. This will pull up your viewing options.
- Select the broadcast quality you want and tap apply.
Does the application show partners only (or only top 1k broadcasts)?
The application shows all streams, so long as your device can play it. Sometimes, broadcasters set their video [bitrate] settings very high, beyond what some phones can display. This is pretty rare, as most devices are very powerful.
How can I switch between portrait and landscape viewing if I’ve turned rotation off in my phone settings?
- Tap the video player to bring up the fullscreen button (looks like arrows pointing diagonally out or in).
- Switch between viewing modes.
Introducing Host Mode – a new way to share live channels without leaving the comfort of your home chatroom.
What is Host Mode?
Imagine you’re done broadcasting for the day, and about to go offline. Rather than just signing off, Engage Host Mode! Your chatroom remains entirely the same, but your video player is replaced with an embedded version of whichever channel’s stream you decide to host. Now you and your chat community can continue to hang out even after you’ve gone offline.
Host mode gives a broadcaster the ability to host another channel’s live broadcast on his or her own channel page. Any broadcaster can host another channel, and any channel can be hosted. It works just like using an embedded player on another website, except it works directly on Twitch.
- If you have a scheduled inVideo Promotion that appears during the first 13 seconds of your YouTube video, we will offset this promotion to start at 14 seconds.
- This allows for the Twitch Live Annotation to appear at 3 seconds and last for 10 seconds.
We’ve been humbled by the response so far to V1 of Twitch Live Annotations. In going through all your feedback, we found some common questions that we wanted to address.
Please note:We have discovered a YouTube bug that prevents annotations from showing sometimes. We’re working with YouTube’s team to iron this out as quickly as possible and will keep you updated. Thank you for your patience!