- YouTube/Tyler Blevins
- In August 2019, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins announced a precedent-setting deal to leave Amazon’s Twitch streaming platform and exclusively stream on Microsoft’s Mixer.
- Since Blevins left Twitch, a steady stream of other high-profile names have left the service or signed exclusivity deals with its competitors.
- The terms of the deal are, thus far, unknown – but a new report says Microsoft paid Blevins “between $20 and $30 million” for a multi-year exclusivity deal.
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Amazon’s Twitch is the most popular live-video streaming service by a large margin.
As Google-owned YouTube dominates internet video-on-demand, Twitch dominates live-streamed internet video. Hundreds of thousands of people are watching live video streams on the service at any moment.
But Twitch is bleeding: a major talent exodus has more people than ever using competing services from Microsoft and Google.
It all started with Tyler “Ninja” Blevins last August.
In a publicity statement made to look like a press conference last August, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins announced his intention to switch from Amazon-owned Twitch to Microsoft-owned Mixer.
“I know this may come as a shock to many of you,” he said, “but, as of today, I will be streaming exclusively on Mixer.”
The announcement itself was lighthearted and silly, but the news was anything but – the world’s most popular, well-known video game streamer was switching from Amazon to Microsoft. We’re talking about a guy who makes hundreds of thousands of dollars each month streaming himself playing “Fortnite” to tens of thousands of viewers, a guy who was reportedly paid $1 million for a single day of playing EA’s “Apex Legends.”
Neither Blevins nor Microsoft revealed the contract terms that got one of the most popular streamers in the world to jump ship to a nascent platform with a fraction of the audience. But a talent management executive who’s worked with Blevins told CNN Business in an article published Monday that the streamer may netted between $20 million and $30 million from the deal.
It seems straightforward for the company: Microsoft is paying the most popular video game streamer to exclusively stream on its platform, Mixer.
In reality, Microsoft is locking in an important influencer who can both increase the value of Mixer and bring eyes to Microsoft’s entire gaming platform – a platform that’s expanding greatly in the next year with a new Xbox console (Xbox Series X) and a major new game streaming platform.
- The Masked Singer/Fox
The deal sounds expensive, and six months later, we may have finally learned exactly how expensive the deal was: “Between $20 and $30 million” for a “multi-year deal,” according to Ader CEO Justin Warden, whose marketing and talent management company reportedly works with Blevins. Warden gave the figure to CNN Business, and claimed he had “direct knowledge” of the terms of the deal.
Representatives for Microsoft declined to comment on the report.
Blevins’ talent representation at Loaded, the company that negotiated the Mixer deal, initially declined to comment. A representative offered the following statement after publication: “We do not disclose the terms of any agreement for talent. The Ader team has no connection to this specific partnership and therefore any insight regarding the terms of the agreement is pure speculation.”