Platishers and Advertisers: Amazon’s Twitch Deal

The ability of video to capture the attention of online visitors was proven again this week when Amazon  bought Twitch for $1 billion, snatching it from the jaws of The Google. In case you’ve been on another planet, you already know that Twitch, which has over a  billion broadcasters  contributing content,  and claims 55 million uniques, is a mobile video platform on which  some people watch streaming video of other people playing online games. Twitch sells pre-roll against its  streaming video content, as well as more conventional ads, and although it is only three years old, its growth has been nothing short of amazing..

You might not think of these two in the same breath, but Twitch occupies a similar space to Medium, a space gradually being defined as that of the “platisher” (yes, it’s a horrible word but it stuck), a cross between a platform and a publisher. As a publisher, it can claim its 55 million uniques,  but as a platform there’s a lot more to it.

The term “platisher” first appeared in February on Re/Code, where it was applied to Gawker and Medium.  But clearly it also applies to Buzzfeed,  and also to Vox, whose entire business model consists of creating quick spin-offs by branded journalists.But if you really think about it, the synergy between platform (the technical underpinnings) and publisher (the content) blurred may years earlier, perhaps with the advent of Blogger. Ev Williams’ first foray into what was then called “user-generated content.” After all, what is a platisher but the latest incarnation of user-generated content?

What does this mean for advertisers?

It means more opportunity to target the right customer in the right place at the right time. Combined with the geo-fencing possible on mobile phones, that targeting can get even more precise. But that can mean sacrificing the necessary reach to get results.

Which in turn means that the ability to use unusual video ad formats to deliver unduplicated reach elsewhere besides the obvious video destinations becomes more and more important. Advertising is wasted if it just targets people who would have converted anyway, Rather, it needs to find those who, to go back to where this line of thought began, are not watching video games being played, but are still the brand’s target customer. Because video is such a compelling delivery system for content, running ads on sites that may not be video sites could make your ad budget deliver a much higher return.

And yes, we sell those high impact video formats that can extend the reach of your campaign past Twitch’s available pre-roll inventory, or any other single video destination.