French TV Channel Canal+ (a premium channel with a model similar to HBO) is in hot water with the gaming community after one of its shows- Le Grand Journal – ran a piece on Twitch, the live streaming video platform which is popular among hardcore video gamers.
The piece (available here on YouTube), in just two minutes, refers to Twitch as the “latest Internet addiction,” describing users as “watching videos of people playing video games”, following up with “they must really have nothing better to do.” The piece is largely satirical, with the presenters likely assuming that this audience is niche enough to poke fun at.
A petition requesting that the show apologize for its comments has since received over 75,000 signatures.
The situation itself almost perfectly summarizes TV’s relationship to the Internet. For example, the piece continues to tease the nearly 5 Million users who receive millions in donation per year, like Pewdiepie, subsequently noting that the platform has been bought by Amazon (an “evil Silicon Valley giant” according to the show’s presenter) for $970 Million.
Twitch’s acquisition price tag is about the same as the valuation not of Le Grand Journal, but of Canal+ as a whole, which has a market cap of €761 Million according to FT.
The ‘latest addiction’ which the TV show plays off as having a niche audience has created an actual TV channel (real-time video content) where they don’t have to pay the presenters – instead, users themselves pay (and they do pay), and Twitch can add advertisements on top of the service. Next to Canal+’ roughly 12 million premium users, Twitch totes 5 Million free users, whose ‘addiction’ translates into them watching more than the average TV viewer & generating enough value that Google & Amazon fought to acquire them.
TV as a whole no longer makes sense in the age of Internet
The content is premium – and there is some AMAZING content – but that content could be viewed on Netflix or HBO Go or OCS (Orange Content Services) in France (or on Netflix in France, as it ramps up to launch this month).
One of my favorite quotes from the clip was a reaction from the older presenter, responding to the phrase “this is the world we live in in 2014.” His reaction was “I don’t want this world.”