How to Make WFH Less Lonely
People-Watching on Twitch
From ‘mukbangs’ to ‘study/work with mes,’ there has been a rising community of streamers who broadcast themselves casually living out their lives. Receiving as much as US$1,000 from a single fan donation, lifestyle streamer @triciaisabirdy has over 162K followers on Twitch and 12.8K followers on Instagram who watch and participate in her cooking content and chill hangouts.
With the emergence of an exciting but therapeutic new medium of video entertainment, we discuss the following questions:
- What exactly does lifestyle streaming encompass?
- Why do people find watching the lives of strangers interesting?
- How is this slice-of-life community an attractive space in terms of monetisation?
New Streaming Content: Welcome to the Chatroom
Many people may know of video live-streaming service Twitch as a place to watch gaming influencers play their all-time favourites and review fresh gaming content. In recent years, Twitch has dedicated a new search category — named ‘Just Chatting’ — to content that does not involve gaming. Whether viewers are looking to learn how to knit or join an existential conversation, such real-time non-gaming content has sustained significant growth in engagement since the start of the pandemic (‘Just Chatting’ gained 407K+ followers within the past month).
Fan Engagement: Hi, What’s Your Name :)
Although non-gaming content includes a broad range of interests, one common aspect of such streams is the audience’s engagement with the streamer as a person rather than the featured activity.
An article by venture capital firm a16z explained that viewers are typically interested in the lifestyles of complete strangers because of the loneliness widely felt in modern society. In fact, what makes live-streaming so unique and engaging as a media format is its ability to combine “the reach of a public broadcast with the intimacy of a small-group community.” Unlike Netflix or YouTube videos that provide passive entertainment, lifestyle streamers make their audience feel like active participants in an inclusive environment.
Monetisation Mechanics: Gifting Subs All Around
Similar to gaming streamers, lifestyle streamers receive financial support from their fans mainly in the form of subscriptions and donations. The latter arguably forms deeper relationships with their audience than the former, where lifestyle streamers receive more revenue from spontaneous donations (50%) in proportion to automated subscriptions (25%) than their gamer counterparts (12% and 68% respectively). In fact, lifestyle streamers generally seem to have better audience retention than gaming streamers, where fans form more long-term connections based on the streamer’s personality than certain gaming trends that inevitably die off.
YouTube, Instagram and other social media giants recognise the engagement and monetisation potential in this unique mode of active entertainment as well, as they have also launched live-streaming platforms in recent years. Needless to say, connecting with people online (as virtual lunch or study buddies) in a world where modern loneliness is commonplace, especially during the pandemic, becomes ever more so important. Hence, we believe that these slice-of-life influencers make great sustainable sponsorship targets in adding value to society.