In December, Twitch.tv announced a partnership with the G-League that enables users to co-stream games. Social media influencer Mia Khalifa has a Twitch.tv channel, is calling the NBA development league’s games and averaging 100,000 views per broadcast (3 million views, 30 broadcasts). In the first half of an exclusive interview (2nd half will be in tomorrow’s newsletter, so make sure to sign-up), JohnWallStreet had the chance to ask Mia about her new role as a color commentator, her audience and least favorite broadcaster.
JWS: Twitch.tv has gained widespread popularity within the gaming community, but remains under the general public’s radar. How did you get introduced to Twitch.tv
Mia: As an undercover gamer, I’ve known about Twitch since I was in college; as a place to see new games being demo’d. My manager used to run Chive Gaming live streams and he talked me in to starting one of my own. At first I was hesitant because I’m not necessarily too good at any one video game. I just like to play them for fun and I didn’t think I had it in me to conduct streams that people would want to watch, but he opened my eyes to the IRL channel (in real life streaming); where I can do a cooking show, I can have a Q&A session, I can post a talk-show if I want. I can turn it on and talk sh!t about all the playoff games I lost money betting on. I can do anything I want with this new channel on Twitch; I don’t have to pigeon-hole myself to (video) games and it’s been great. It’s my main job right now; doing cooking and G-League streams.
JWS: Do you have an idea of who your audience is?
Mia: Most of the people who are watching me stream, I would say probably aren’t even basketball fans; but, that’s the beauty of it. It’s opening basketball to the eyes of people who would never go out of their way to see a court, which is amazing. These are all nerds, like level 10 nerds, like real true nerds who are watching the NBA’s G-League.
JWS: So, what is your goal? Are you looking to become a color commentator? The next Bill Raftery?
Mia: No, I do not take myself anywhere near that seriously. I like to consider myself a colorful commentator, like a rainbow commentator. I’m not trying to be the next Kirk (Herbstreit), I’m just really being myself. I’m commentating on these games the way I would if I was just talking sh!t with my friends. I don’t call plays. It’s all light hearted, all in good fun. You don’t have to be a sports fan, it’s just banter and a good time; and it’s inclusive, World of Warcraft nerds can tune in just as hardcore sports fans can. We’re exposing basketball to an audience that wouldn’t usually tune in.
JWS: Barstool Sports did a live stream of guys living and dying with every pitch during the ’16 World Series, which seems along the lines of IRL streaming. Do you have any aspirations of joining those guys?
Mia: Uh, what’s a barstool?
Howie Long-Short: The video game streaming market was expected to generate $4.6 billion in 2017 revenue. Amazon (AMZN), which bought Twitch back in 2014 for $970 million, is well positioned to cash in moving forward. The company reported concurrent viewership increased 67% during Q3 ’17 (to 737,000, nearly 3x more than YouTube Gaming); while the company took in 37% (the most of any company) of all game-streaming revenue across the industry.
Fan Marino: Mia’s favorite broadcaster is Kirk Herbstreit. I asked who her least favorite was?
Mia: God, Quint Kessenich is so bad. Who is he sleeping with at ESPN to escape all those layoffs? How does he still have a job? Also, Pierre McGuire sucks and NBC Sports should fire him.
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