The Washington Post turns on Twitch channel with live news coverage, political series
- The Washington Post has launched a channel on the live-streaming platform Twitch, the paper said in a press release on its website. The channel will feature live coverage of events hosted by the Post's Libby Casey and a series called "Playing Games with Politicians" hosted by political reporter Dave Weigel. The Post is owned by Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, which owns Twitch.
- The Post first experimented with Twitch in April, when it live streamed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's Capitol Hill testimony and included analysis by its reporters. The real-time conversations and viewer engagement around the event showed that there was interest in the service, the publisher said.
- The Post plans to live stream coverage of important news and political events. For example, Casey hosted a live stream of the summit between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16, with White House reporter David Nakamura and audience editor Gene Park offering context to viewers. "Playing Games with Politicians" will feature Weigel interviewing politicians while they play video games.
As publishers have seen print subscriptions decline and struggled to monetize their digital channels, some are looking to more nascent outlets to experiment with content, including live video. Twitch, however, appears to be relatively uncharted territory for a major newspaper, but could be a means for the Post to better reach the younger, internet-savvy users who gravitate toward the streaming platform.
Twitch has gained significant popularity in recent years as a place where people predominantly go to live stream video games, watch others do the same and comment on those streams in real-time. The Post is attempting to synthesize that reputation with its usual political coverage through offerings like the Weigel-hosted series. The move also represents a potential play by the Post's owner, Bezos, to expand Twitch's content offerings, which have recently included live streams of popular series like "Saturday Night Live."
A number of more traditional media companies have launched live-streaming shows or related video content on social media platforms. The format is a natural fit for live or breaking news coverage and might also be a means to reach on-the-go consumers who may not subscribe to newspapers or live TV, but who are spending more time on mobile devices. Bloomberg, for example, launched TicToc by Bloomberg in December as a 24-hour Twitter news network that features breaking news and live video updates. CNN also debuted a daily news show on Snapchat last year called "The Update", though it has since canceled the program.
The Washington Post has been growing its digital business since Bezos acquired the company in 2013. The Twitch content could create new revenue opportunities for the Post. As marketers are eyeing live video as part of their marketing strategies, Amazon announced in December that it would begin selling video ads for its Advertising Platform on its properties that run video ads, including Twitch.
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