September 17, 2019

Last month, Ninja, made the switch from Twitch to Mixer. To put this in perspective, the latter only accounts for three percent of time spent watching game streams online; Twitch receives about 72 percent of time spent.

From gracing the cover of ESPN Magazine to recently partnering with Adidas, Ninja has successfully crossed over to the mainstream. While Ninja and Mixer haven’t shared the details of their partnership, it likely includes a lot of guaranteed money for the streamer. His large subscriber base has followed him to Mixer, a testament to his strong personal brand and to money well spent for Microsoft.

But there are more implications than meet the eye when it comes to Ninja’s streaming home. We spoke to Mat Piscatella, a gaming industry analyst for NPD, about what Ninja’s move to Mixer means, especially for companies interested in working with him and other streamers.

Twofivesix: How do you think Ninja’s switch to Mixer will affect his personal brand? 

Mat Piscatella: He stands out in terms of the scale of his personality and his personal brand, so that certainly helped create a separation between all of the other folks who are currently doing big numbers on Twitch. It certainly doesn’t seem like there are a lot of downsides to it, especially given the results so far. 

Twofivesix: Do you think Twitch should be worried?

Piscatella: Given that we’re still in a period of pretty rapid growth in the streaming segment and considering it’s a primary form of entertainment for young people, this was never going to be a segment where one player would dominate. 

Obviously, competition is a concern, but when you look at World of Warcraft Classic getting a million viewers [at launch on Twitch], I don’t think there’s a lot to be too concerned about. You don’t want your biggest talent moving to other platforms, but at the same time, there are so many great streamers coming up and getting better and better. I think that the pie of the overall reach and engagement of this segment is just getting bigger and bigger.

Twofivesix: You’ve mentioned audience segments. Do you have any insight into who is watching streaming?

Piscatella: Yeah, we do. We have an active gamer survey program where we track things like viewership and demographics. We’re seeing that younger folks are finding that streaming is a primary form of entertainment, and they identify with streamers a lot. It’s changing the game of marketing. You can’t really run ads like you could on TV back in the day. You have to get a lot more creative with advertising. 

Twofivesix: What do successful creative campaigns in the space look like?

Piscatella: One thing that’s been pretty successful is product placement. The most famous example is Cup Noodles—a few months ago, all of a sudden a bunch of streamers were eating Cup Noodles on their streams. 

Of course, gaming peripheral companies have been doing this a long time, making sure that streamers were wearing their brand of headset or keyboard. I anticipate we’re going to see a lot more mass market brands move into that space to try to get placement during streaming activities. People like Ninja are on the forefront of that, so it’s fun to watch. It’s like the dawn of a new era of media, and we’re seeing it all develop in real time.

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