August 28, 2018
Twitch and The Pokémon Company International are joining forces to offer “Pokémon: The Series,” featuring 16 movies and 19 television seasons comprised of 932 episodes. Twitch plans to livestream the marathons — the longest program-related viewing event it has ever streamed — in several blocks, beginning August 27 and running into 2019. The two companies first partnered on the “Twitch Plays Pokémon” social experiment in 2014. The marathons will help market the Nintendo “Pokémon” games slated to debut this fall.
VentureBeat reports that, “the viewing event begins with the first season, ‘Pokémon: Indigo League’, on August 27 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific time for Twitch audiences in U.S., Canada, Europe, Latin America, and Australia” on the TwitchPresents channel, dubbed in French, German, Spanish, Italian and Brazilian Portugese on its companion channels.
An Extensions overlay, “Twitch Presents: Pokémon Badge Collector,” will allow viewers to collect virtual Pokémon badges “that appear on-screen for points that place them on a leaderboard.”
“The Twitch community has a passion for ‘Pokémon’ based on the warm embrace the series received when we celebrated the brand’s 20th anniversary, as well as the cultural milestone that was set when over a hundred thousand Twitch members played ‘Pokémon’ together,” said Twitch director of business development Jane Weedon, who added the viewing event “marks our most ambitious block of animated programming to date in terms of duration and content.”
The Pokémon Company senior director of consumer marketing J.C. Smith added that, “the animation provides a breadth of engaging content for the community as they learn more about ‘Pokémon’.”
TechCrunch reports that previous Twitch “retro binge watch fests” focused on old shows like “Bob Ross,” “Julia Child,” “Mister Rogers,” “SNL,” and most recently, “Knight Rider.” This is the second time Twitch offered an interactive element, the first being a “watch and win” extension during a “Doctor Who” broadcast, which “focused on collecting contest entries.”
The event is taking place, says TechCrunch, as Twitch seeks a broader audience, “wooing creatives like vloggers, cooks, artists, and others to come to its site, instead of only broadcasting on YouTube.” According to Bloomberg, “Two of the fastest-growing genres on Twitch are livestreams of TV shows and ‘IRL,’ or in real life, videos — where posters welcome fans into their world for a few hours at a time. IRL videos are an unedited version of the video blog, or vlog, one of the dominant genres on YouTube.”
Twitch stated this livestream is “appropriate for fans 13 and up — which means it could attract those whose first real exposure to ‘Pokémon’ was the mobile game that went viral following its launch in 2016.”