Live streaming monetisation specialist Loots has developed its own rival to Twitch, Mixer and YouTube Gaming. The new platform has soft launched already, and is targeted at younger streamers.
Loots is known in the streaming community for its Sponsored Messaging advertising solution, which is used by over 200,000 streamers across Twitch, YouTube Gaming, Mixer, Facebook Live and more.
"If you have suddenly have this number of influencers, you start to think further about what you can do next," Loots CEO Marc Fuehnen tells GamesIndustry.biz. "At the end of last year it became clear that you need to own the platform to become more creative in how to monetise live content. We did a few prototypes and now, six months later, we have our own live-streaming platform. We now have the playing field to be more creative with these content creators."
Among the new offerings are the ability to have paid-for live videos to which fans can subscribe. There is also a system where fans can request personal messages from their favourite content creators -- a happy birthday message, for instance -- and receive one for the cost of $10.
"When we look at the content creators that we have on the platform already -- this 200,000-plus people -- what sticks out is that they are incredibly young," Fuehnen says. "There is a huge demographic change. You no-longer have new content creators in their 20s or mid-30s. Content creators coming in these days are nine years-old, ten years-old, 11, 14... it's a huge generational shift.
"Obviously, things like Fortnite have boosted that. If you look at that demographic, you will see that they have a different approach to live streaming. It's definitely a bit lighter, the formats are shorter -- they don't sit in front of a camera for eight hours -- they have a different entrepreneurial spirit in what they do. They want to not only be able to express themselves, but also become little business people.
"We thought that, with the platforms on the market right now, like Twitch and Mixer, they're not really catering for this new young audience -- the generation TikTok, if you will. These young people have a different approach to this whole thing. Everything is very short-term and very fun. And, of course, content-wise, it's not always games.
"The streamer on Twitch is just dreaming of a sponsorship with Razer"
"The streams they're running are about everything. So what would a streaming platform look like for this new generation of streamers? And how do we fit in? And how can we give them a platform and opportunities to make money from it?"
Fuehnen says that younger streamers like to engage more frequently with their users, while older streamers tend to prefer to be left alone.
"It's very important for this [young] generation to be very close to the people watching. If you are in Twitch right now and you have 500 viewers and you're 35 years-old, and you have a job and you're doing this in the evening... the last thing you enjoy is writing emails or interacting with your audience. You just want to play your game for your audience and do some chit-chat here and there.
Loots isn't just targeting game streamers with its platform; it cites ideas such as having paid-for guitar lessons, a stream on tattoo creation, skateboarding tricks, live news reporting and more.
Loots doesn't have the commercial power or popularity of Mixer or Twitch or YouTube Gaming. These products are owned by some of the biggest companies in the world. Fuehnen says that Loots is not trying to compete with Microsoft, Amazon and Google directly, and in fact, content creators who stream via Loots can have their videos also displayed on those other platforms, too.
"We have something called re-streaming -- we want to be super open," he says. "If we create live content we want to help you syndicate it, so the content you are running on Loots can also be running on all other networks as well. This is what we support for Twitch, for Mixer, for YouTube Gaming, for Facebook.
"The conversation we have with our streamers, it's not so much about dropping everything on the other platforms and coming over to Loots. What we can say is try out our platform, you'll benefit massively from the monetisation we have in place, and you won't lose a single soul because the content we create will be streamed simultaneously to a different platform. And for free.
"Upon saying that, we are not focused on bringing streamers from a different network to our network. What we want is everyone who starts streaming today should start using Loots, or at least consider it as a different solution to what you can do elsewhere."
Loots also promises to be more open with publishers and advertisers with the data that it will have.
"In the current state of live streaming, [games companies] have little data access. They feel a little abused, to be honest. They're giving the content to the world, it's their game, but they don't get anything out of this. They want a platform where they can filter through influencers, where they can segment audiences, where they can provide gameplay codes, and where they can launch advertising campaigns without going through these manual processes. They want access to the data, and not just during campaigns, but they also want to know how their game develops in a live-streaming environment.
"When it comes to how people behave and how to put limits on that, you need to be creative"
"I see it every day. Is interest rising or not? What was the reaction to this new content? We have developed a back-end that allows them to access this data in different granular forms. Everything is with the consent of the streamer and the audience. This will change the industry and how they see live-streaming."
It sounds interesting, but the proof will be in the product. Loots will be competing with far bigger players in a market that's challenging even for commercial giants like Microsoft and Facebook to make a sizeable impact. It is also talking about working with a potentially vulnerable group of young people. Online bullying and abuse is a serious issue, and one that's heightened when you're talking about a live-streaming platform for ten year-olds.
"Exactly," Fuehnen concludes. "The most vulnerable area is chat. This is where people communicate, so you put a lot of technology in place that allows you to monitor what is happening, and also you have a lot of emphasis on how to bring in moderators. If you are running a successful channel and you want a group of your friends to monitor the chat and ban people, this is what you can do. This will develop over time. It's social media in the end, so you will have all the different issues of social media in a live environment. There's a lot of learning that will happen.
"When it comes to how people behave and how to put limits on that, you need to be creative. You cannot really enforce that behaviour, but you can incentivise certain behaviour. You can allow streamers to give out rewards to people who behave properly. We have chat reactions where you can react to the messages that you see, and this should incentivise the people in the chat to write interesting stuff."
He concludes: "What we're trying to do is this live-streaming for generation TikTok, and it needs to have a different look, a different feel, a different form of monetisation and different thinking. Our whole goal, our whole business development, is very much focused on this."
Disclaimer: Loots has a sales partnership with Gamer Network. Gamer Network is the parent company of GamesIndustry.biz.