A six-month-old streaming platform is paying $70 million for one of Twitch’s biggest stars.
They launched Kick at the end of 2022. Yet, by 31 May 2023, Kick claimed it had five million active accounts. Kick streams gamers in action like Amazon’s Twitch. They are luring some of the biggest game streamers to Kick the old-fashioned way with enormous amounts of money.
For example, Kick is paying Félix Lengyel, the Twitch star known as xQc $70 million to jump ship, The New York Times claims. Lengyel’s agent, Ryan Morrison, told The Times that Kick will pay his client $70 million in money and $30 million in incentives.*
Additionally, Kick plans to give streamers 95% of revenue. In contrast, Twitch gives streamers 50% of revenue. I think this shows Kick could lose money if doesn’t have another source of revenue.
Kick buys xQc
Hence, xQc’s deal rivals the money the Los Angeles Lakers pays basketball legend LeBron James, The Times speculates. “This is more than most professional athletes and megastars,” Morrison boasts. “This is one of the highest deals in entertainment, period.”
Interestingly, xQc’s two-year deal is not exclusive. The Times claims Lengyel can post content to YouTube and TikTok. Hence, they’re paying Lengyel to advertise Kick on other platforms. Moreover, Kick wants access to xQc’s reputed 12 million viewers.
Kick needs advertising because it is puny in comparison to Twitch. The Times estimates Twitch attracts 31 million daily viewers while Kick has five million active accounts. Twitch hosts seven million streamers a month, while Kick hosts 110,000 livestreams a day.
Kick has More Viewers than largest US cable network
However, Kick could already have more viewers than America’s largest cable TV network, the Fox News Channel. Statista estimates Fox News average 2.37 million total viewers in 2022. Fox News’ average viewership fell from 3.6 million in 2020 and 2.39 million in 2021.*
Conversely, the second largest cable TV network, Disney’s ESPN averaged 1.88 million viewers in 2022. However, ESPN’s viewership grew from 1.62 million in 2021 and 1.5 million in 2020.
Thus, Kick is attracting more viewers than Americans more than America’s two largest cable networks combined and it’s a little over six months old. Hence, the media landscape is changing before our eyes.
What is Kick Anyway?
Kick, like Twitch, is a livestreaming platform. Livestreamers play games and chat on video. Visitors watch the action and listen to the banter. For example, people watch Kick livestreamer GMHiraku play chess. Hiraku’s chess game was getting 3,534 views on 19 June 2023.
The principal attraction at Kick is gambling. For example, Kick’s top Live Category was Slots & Casino on 19 June 2023. Slots & Casino was attracting 38,911 viewers while Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 was attracting 10,162 viewers.
Australian online casino Stake.com is a backer of Kick, The New York Times reports. Stake and Stake.US offer sports betting and casino games. Notably, Stake.US calls itself “America’s Social Casino.” Stake.US claims to offer over 200 industry favorite games.
One reason for Kick’s formation was in reaction to Twitch’s ban on gambling. I have to wonder if Kick will start livestreaming gambling. For example, poker.
Gambling Comes to Livestreaming
EasyGo Gaming, a software company that builds gaming platforms and applications, is another backer of Kick. Among other things, Easygo offers Bitcoin (BTC) gaming products.
For example, EasyGo builds online versions of popular casino games such as Blackjack, Keno, Roulette, and Video Poker. Interestingly, EasyGo claims its clients have over six million registered players worldwide.*
Hence, the gambling industry is trying to lure younger people by hiring some of their most popular stars. This is how the gambling industry has always operated. In the 1950s and 1960s, the casino industry went mainstream by paying stars, such as Frank Sinatra and Elvis, to play Vegas.
Now, they’re using streamers to reach the kids. Gambling companies are interested in livestreaming because of the age of its users. DemandStage estimates 72% of Twitch users are between 16 and 34.*
I guess, Kick’s business model is to addict young people to gambling, which is pretty sleazy. To explain, they can share 95% of Kick revenues with streamers because of the money they get from online casinos.
I predict there will be a reaction to this. Particularly, when some teenager charges $25,000 in gambling on mom’s credit card.
Is Kick a Threat to Twitch?
However, statistics show Kick is not a threat to Twitch. The Amazon (AMZN) owned Twitch attracted 140 million unique visits in March 2023, Demand Stage estimates. Around 2.83 million people watch Twitch at anytime.*
They estimate Twitch viewers watched over 70 million content hours a day in 2023, Demand Stage claims. Moreover, Twitch accounts for over 70% of the Esports market.*
They claim over 100 million people have downloaded the Twitch App. The most popular Twitch game is League of Legends, which has accumulated 48.1 billion view hours. However, the typical Twitch streamer attracts 25.1 viewers a day.
Thus, Kick may never become a large player in Livestreaming. However, Kick is a great deal for creators such as xQc and Amazon (AMZN). Kick is burning money and paying Amazon Web Services (AWS) Dexerto, claims.
However, Kick could disrupt the livestream market by becoming a lucrative niche player. Thus, people who want to make money from livestreaming need to buy Amazon (AMZN) stock.