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Ninja accuses Twitch of pushing porn on his unused account

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Ninja has beef with Twitch, the platform where he first found fame.

The superstar streamer whose real name is Richard Tyler Blevins now reps Microsoft’s competing Mixer, as of Aug. 1. But he left behind a community of 14.7 million followers on Twitch, and now he’s claiming Twitch is exploiting the community he built without his permission.

Blevins laid it all out in a video posted to Twitter on Sunday. He starts by explaining his new streaming situation on Mixer and describes what he says was a “smooth” transition off of Twitch. “Super professional, we haven’t said anything bad or negative about Twitch, obviously, because we haven’t needed to.” Read more…

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Douyu, China’s Twitch backed by Tencent, files for a $500M U.S. IPO

Douyu, a Chinese live streaming service focused on video games, has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as it prepares to raise up to $500 million on the NYSE less than a year after its archrival floated on the same stock market.

Wuhan-based Douyu, whose name translates as “fighting fish”, is the second Twitch -like service backed by Tencent to go public in the United States. Its direct competitor Huya, who has a similarly fierce name “tiger’s teeth” and also counts Tencent as a major investor, raised $180 million from its NYSE listing last May.

It’s not surprising for Tencent to hedge its bets in esports streaming, given the giant relies heavily on video games to make money. For example, Tencent can use some of its portfolio companies’ ad slots to get the word out about its new releases. Indeed, Douyu’s filing shows it received a hefty 27.48 million yuan ($4.09 million) in advertising fees from Tencent last year.

As Douyu warns in its prospectus, its alliance with Tencent can be tenuous.

“Tencent may devote resources or attention to the other companies it has an interest in, including our direct or indirect competitors. As a result, we may not fully realize the benefits we expect from the strategic cooperation with Tencent. Failure to realize the intended benefits from the strategic cooperation with Tencent, or potential restrictions on our collaboration with other parties, could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.”

But there are nuances in the giant’s ties to China’s top two live streaming services that could mean more affinity between Tencent and Douyu. The social media and gaming behemoth is currently Douyu’s largest shareholder with a 40.1 percent stake owned through its wholly-owned subsidiary Nectarine. Over at Huya, Tencent is the second-largest stakeholder behind YY, the pioneer in China’s live streaming sector that had spun off Huya.

When it comes to the financial terms, the rivaling pair is in a head-on race. In 2018, Douyu doubled its net revenues to $531.5 million. Huya held an edge as it earned $678.3 million in the same period, also doubling the amount from a year ago.

Huya may have learned a few things about monetizing live streaming from 14-year-old YY as it managed to pull in more revenues despite owning a smaller user base. While Douyu claimed 153.5 million monthly active users in the fourth quarter, Huya had 116.6 million.

How the two make money also diverge slightly. In the fourth quarter, 86 percent of Douyu’s revenues originated from virtual items that users tipped to their favorite streaming hosts, with the remaining earnings derived from advertising and more. By contrast, Huya relied almost exclusively on live streaming gifts, which made up 95.3 percent of total revenues.

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Screenshot of a Douyu live streaming session 

As Douyu grows its coffers to spend on content as well as technologies following the impending IPO, competition in China’s live streaming landscape is set to heat up. Just earlier this month, Huya raised $327 million in a secondary offering to invest in content and R&D. Like many other businesses anchored in content, Huya and Douyu depend tremendously on quality creators to keep users loyal. Both have offered sizable checks to live streaming hosts, promising to grow the internet celebrities into bigger stars.

And they’ve extended the battlefield outside China as emerging media forms, most exemplified by short video services Douyin (TikTok’s China version) and Kuaishou, threaten to steal people’s eyeball time away. Both bite-size video apps now enjoy a much bigger user base than their live streaming counterparts.

“We intend to further explore overseas markets to expand our user base through both organic expansion and selective investments,” noted Douyu in its IPO filing.

In a similar move, Huya’s overseas expansion is also well underway. “In addition to our vigorous domestic growth, we have successfully leveraged our unique business model to enter new overseas markets. We believe we are delivering long-term value through strategic investments in overseas markets in 2019 and beyond,” said Huya chief executive Rongjie Dong in the company’s Q4 earnings report.

Why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dropped into a ‘Donkey Kong 64’ session on Twitch

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It’s not every day a member of Congress drops by a Twitch session.

Streamers of a session of Donkey Kong 64 on Sunday were treated to a cameo from newly elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

YouTube star Hbomberguy, a.k.a. Harry Brewis, is streaming a Twitch marathon of the classic 1999 Donkey Kong adventure platformer released by Rare for Nintendo 64, which he’d never finished as a kid (preach).

Brewis explained in a video announcement he intended to play the game start to finish, streaming from January 18 to raise money for Mermaids, a charity providing resources and support for transgender children and young people.  Read more…

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Pirated Twitch streams hijack YouTube’s pay-per-view Logan Paul/KSI boxing match

Today, there was a little bit of a skirmish between two professional YouTubers. Our dear old friend Logan Paul and KSI had an actual boxing match at the Manchester Arena where 15,000 tickets were sold (!!!!!!!!) for an event that ultimately ended in a draw and vows for a rematch.

The action onstage wasn’t the only place where viewers could get a look into the action, there was a $10 pay-per-view stream on YouTube, but more people seemed to end up watching pirated streams on Twitch with boxing fight streams reaching over a million concurrent users at one point. Streams also popped up on Twitter-owned Periscope and there were a few unofficial streams popping up on YouTube as well.

There is now over 2 million concurrent viewers for the KSI Logan Paul fight. 800,000 on the official YouTube stream that cost $10 to watch, and 1.2 million watching for free on Twitch. #KSIvLogan pic.twitter.com/ZZ0FYHLzOn

— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) August 25, 2018

Now, forget the parties involved and the topic and the motivations for a moment if you can. I understand if it might feel more than a little difficult to feel remorse for the parties involved, that has been a common refrain for pirated content popping up from whatever group for whatever reason though.

There’s obviously a big difference between free curiosity and $10 curiosity for an event like this but it seems pretty apparent that having access to a free stream on an easily-accessible mainstream site probably dissuaded some people from paying for the event on YouTube. While people may have previously scoured the web for pop-up ridden sites to view something like this, Twitch and other services unofficially served it up on a platter.

There are plenty of events similar to this one, but so often the refrain is made that people have to turn to pirated streams because the alternative is paying for cable or something that is really against the spirit of these easy-to-access platforms. Well, here’s an example of something that falls far outside that argument.

It’s impossible to squash all of the pirated streams, but Amazon’s Twitch is a bit too mature to be hosting pirated streams in such rampant numbers without being a little more proactive — instead of just relying on user reports to police pirated content that was fairly hard to avoid stumbling upon on the platform.

Even as tech companies continue to try and crack live content, services like Twitch that don’t proactively search out users hijacking streams of big events like this really serve to complicate and deter their own goals of eventually finding a way to monetize big events like this.

Facebook launches gaming video hub to take on Twitch

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Facebook is going after those eyeballs on Twitch.

The social network has launched fb.gg, a hub which makes it easier for people to find gaming content that’s been streamed on the platform.

Front and centre in the hub are primarily popular titles such as Fortnite, PUBG and FIFA 18, as well as a selection of recommended streams. 

If you’re already following a streamer, they’ll appear on the sidebar, and you can also view streams that your friends on Facebook have recently watched too.

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Facebook is also making its monetisation scheme a fixture in its Level Up Program, which it trialled earlier this year. Read more…

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