Now that we’re all inside and online a brain-breaking amount of time per day, Twitch is looking to fund a slate of new unscripted series to help broaden its audience — and take advantage of the fact that its audiences are bigger than ever. According to Bloomberg, which got its hands on an internal document looking for pitches, the company wants live, interactive programming that airs a few times per week — preferably, “game shows, dating shows, sports, music, and talk,” Bloomberg reports, “many of the cornerstones of reality TV.” (Though it is explicitly not looking for escape rooms.)
Bloomberg also reports that Twitch plans to spend between $50,000 and $250,000 a week on the endeavor — four to 10 hours of stuff — which is minuscule for television and huge for most streamers. Twitch is betting it can use the shows to lure new talent to the platform and, in doing so, broaden its brand beyond gamers. One of the big differences between Twitch and other video sites is its emphasis on interactivity; if you’re streaming, there’s an expectation that you at least try to keep up with the people in your chat.
I’m interested to see how that live format fares when it hits the waters of unscripted TV. If you’re on a dating show, for example, I can’t imagine knowing what the audience thinks of your choices in real time would be very helpful. The same with game shows. Live, in-studio audiences have to sign waivers before they get to watch anything — and there’s an expectation that you can’t just shout out answers. Those same rules don’t apply to Twitch chat, which can get fairly chaotic.
All of that said: it’s also worth noting that there is a ton of these shows on Twitch already, like the extremely popular dating / talk show The Rajj Show and Dropped Frames, a live podcast about being a full-time streamer. It’ll be interesting to see whether Twitch decides to acquire any of the shows its streamers are already producing and who the company eventually decides to work with. It’s a smart time for it to experiment.