As an experiment with a recently created News channel, the Amazon-owned streaming service Twitch is live streaming the James Comey hearing today. Comey, the former director of the FBI, was relieved of his position by President Donald Trump on May 9. He is expected to talk about his conversations with Trump, who allegedly asked Comey to end the investigation into President’s campaign ties to Russia.
“We wanted to provide the Twitch community with an easy, familiar way to get involved in the political process,” Twitch wrote in a blog. “Thousands of you joined us to not only hear the speakers, but also to engage with each other via Twitch chat.”
At the time of this post over 29,000 people logged onto the website to watch the hearing. While these 29,000+ viewers could chat with each other, there wasn’t much of conversation talking place, just a lot of emojis and “lols.” One user, derezzed77, wasn’t too keen on the idea of Twitch live streaming the hearing, “Why would you [stream] this on Twitch? No offense, but most of [you] lack chromosomes to understand what they are saying.” And judging by the chat that was taking place and derezzed77’s own lack of spell check, it was, indeed, kind of an odd place to stream the content. However, this isn’t the first time Twitch has live-streamed something other than gamers and 90’s TV shows like “The Power Rangers” and “ Bob Ross’ Joy of Painting.”
“We live streamed the Republican and Democratic National Conventions on Twitch last year, followed by a broadcast from the White House, our community had the opportunity to engage in civic-minded content, while conversing with one another in chat” said Brian Petrocelli, Product Marketing Manager, Twitch. “Because they enthusiastically embraced this interactive public service experiment, it inspired us to experiment further with a News channel dedicated to bi-partisan landmark events beginning with the Comey hearings.”
Regardless of the chat not being of any substance, which is probably because 29000+ people chatting at the same time makes it impossible to have a civil conversation, the turnout was something of significance. People, even gamers, are interested in understanding and learning what is happening in this country. Twitch is reaching an audience that might never turn on CNN, Fox News, or a political podcast.
The company has yet to announce what will stream next on its new experimental news channel.