Earlier this week, Mixer announced they were shutting down, and partnering with Facebook Gaming. The news came as a shock to both streamers and staff, leaving thousands of creators unsure of their future. Mixer has always been the fourth option in terms of viewership but was widely seen (and rooted for) as a dark horse in the space. In 2019, they made big moves to acquire the biggest streamer at the time Ninja and followed shortly thereafter with Shroud. Ninja’s signing kicked off a talent bidding war with some leaving for YouTube, a couple for Facebook Gaming, and many staying on Twitch. But despite the acquisition of two of the top streamers, Mixer never really grew as a platform. With that in mind, here are five takeaway to learn from the Mixer shutdown!
Diversify your Content
As a content creator, the WORST thing you can do is put all your effort into one platform. This means you need to diversify your content and the outlets for that content. The first platform you should absolutely be establishing a presence on is YouTube. This is for two reasons… first, prerecorded content is way better for discoverability, something that most streaming platforms have almost none of. Second, in the long run, it’s possible that YouTube wins the streaming space. Bet on yourself.
You should then look at a third platform to create content for. Perhaps it’s Instagram, or Tiktok, or something else entirely. Just having a different offshoot helps to create a backup plan if either streaming or your YouTube channel runs into issues.
Bonus Tip: Consider streaming occasionally on YouTube if you’re an affiliate. While Twitch Partners have an exclusivity clause, affiliates can end the stream, and then start streaming NEW content on YouTube.
Make Deals that Make Sense (and Dollars)
When Ninja and Shroud made their deals with Mixer, they couldn’t have possibly known they would only need to fulfill 11 months and 8 months, respectively, of their deals before being paid in full. They knew they were walking into a situation that could spell the end of their relevance and the last big deal. BUT, they did so for life-changing money. While the likelihood of YOU getting that kind of deal is LOW, you need to be very careful about the deals you do make.
If you do a brand deal, make sure it fits with your audience AND pays well. The first brand deal you do will receive the MOST enthusiasm from your audience. Each subsequent deal will lose some of that shine. This is especially true if you’re brand disloyal. ie. One month you’re promoting Red Bull, the next month it’s their competitor Monster.
You also need to make sure that the deals you’re making are worth it. These programs that allow anyone to become an affiliate/partner and earn tiny commissions are often more damaging to your value than any money you may generate from them. Be smart about your partners. Know your worth.
Always Have a Backup Communication Method
If you’re a streamer without a Discord, it’s time to change that! Too many streamers run under the premise that they’ll always have their channel to communicate directly with their audience. In reality, we live in a precarious time where you could be cut off from your channel for days, weeks, or even, forever. Platform suspensions and bans can leave an audience assuming you just aren’t streaming.
Discord offers the least friction among viewers and gives you the most direct method of communication. Twitter is okay, but algorithms and the ephemeral nature of tweets make it more of a passive communication tool. Streamers should also look at the OLDEST and most direct digital method of communication: email. You’ve maybe never considered an email list, but it’s certainly worth exploring!
Twitch is Still the King
This isn’t much of a surprise considering the dominance that Twitch has in terms of viewership, but the collapse of Mixer reaffirms Twitch’s place as King. It’s where the viewers are. It’s where the creators are. Despite losing two of their top creators, Twitch didn’t experience any loss in viewership. And perhaps more disturbingly, Mixer gained almost no long term viewers… Will that dominance ever be challenged? Probably, but it’s more likely to come from YouTube than any startup. (Also, there’s a reason most Mixer refugees are coming to Twitch rather than accepting the $2500 from Facebook.)
All is Never as it Appears
Microsoft is a big company. It has over 150,000 employees with a net annual income of nearly $40B. Microsoft could have run Mixer at a loss for decades, so the issue isn’t financial, instead, it’s all about lack of growth. In a competitive landscape, their Hail Mary move was to sign two of the biggest streamers in the world, hoping to cause a dramatic shift. Both encouraging viewers to visit Mixer, but also encourage streamers to bring their content there too. It didn’t work. But no one knew. Even staff were blindsided by the announcement. It’s safe to assume that nothing will ever stay the same. There are no guarantees. There is no stability on ANY digital platform – whether it’s by a virtual attack (DDoS), or simply shareholder appeasement… Never expect the platform you have today to exist tomorrow!
Were you surprised by the shutdown? Are you a displaced Mixer streamer? Let me know in the comments!