Amazon’s Twitch Weighs Original Programs With Interactivity

Twitch, the live streaming video and gaming site purchased by Amazon for $1 billion almost three years ago, is thinking about streaming original programming, says its chief operating officer Kevin Lin. But unlike all other new platforms streaming original content, Twitch is looking for its users to have input on the programs as they are written and produced. Twitch already lets its users comment on the videos in real time and Lin believes these comments can help guide a scripted show as it evolves from episode one onward.

Recode quotes Lin as saying, “We’d want to identify really progressive studios that are willing to take a gamble and not release something in a big dump like most [premium] digital platforms these days.” He added that the company is looking for a production partner that would be open to changing the show week-to-week, with the goal of making it “a little more interactive.”


“If we found the right partner, we’d do it,” he said, adding that the earliest such a program would debut is a year or two away. Recode notes that Twitch’s “most logical partner” is its own parent company, Amazon, which is already creating original programming and licensing other shows for its Prime service.

“We float these ideas by those guys all the time,” said Lin, adding that Twitch has already “streamed a few pilots of Amazon original programming in the past.” “But we need to be broader than that,” he said. “They wouldn’t want us to just work with them, and I think if we go super heavy in with just them it might send the wrong message out to the market.”

Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter are other companies either announcing content partnerships or producing original content.

Netflix is also considering an interactive TV show for children similar to what Twitch is proposing, and “HBO is reportedly working on a show with a choose-your-own-adventure theme.” Lin believes Twitch has a leg up since its viewers are used to commenting on videos as they watch them and “expect that interactive experience.”

“It’s live, but it’s interactive, which you’re not going to get from premium television,” he said. “You’re not going to get an actor from a show to respond to you in chat or change the show based on what you’re saying. That’s sort of the general expectation on Twitch, I would say.”