Image: Crown Channel
If you’re not sure what to watch on Twitch, the team behind Twitch Prime hopes you’ll try tuning in to their new channel. The Crown Channel is meant to look a little more like a traditional TV network: it’ll have regular programming and different styles of shows, from reality series to comedy shows to gaming tournaments. “If you are not a normal Twitch viewer, you will still find it highly entertaining,” Richard Hilleman, creative director of Twitch Prime Live, told The Verge.
The Crown Channel has technically been live and featuring intermittent programming since last year, but it’s only formally launching today with the announcement of a first regular series. It’ll be a weekly reality show called Chasing the Crown: Dreamers to Streamers that pairs small streamers with major streamers as mentors. The show will air live, and viewers will be able to affect the outcome through polls, games, and chats. Between each week’s show, streamers have to meet certain goals, and how they fare on the platform and within the Twitch community will also factor into the show. The winner will get to compete with one of the channel’s Crown Cup tournaments. Additional Crown Channel shows will be announced in July and August with focuses on comedy and pop culture.
The channel comes from Twitch Prime, which is technically a separate entity from Twitch. That means this isn’t necessarily a reflection of what Twitch’s leaders think will succeed on the platform, nor a sign that Twitch is making a big play for original programming — though Bloomberg recently reported that there may be a lot more to come. Twitch is owned by Amazon, and Amazon’s Prime subscription service has a section called Twitch Prime that offers benefits for Twitch viewers. The Crown Channel comes out of that group’s Live team, which is specifically focused on making live content with an eye toward Prime users.
Though it comes from Twitch Prime, the Crown Channel is open for anyone to view. Hilleman said that Prime viewers will just “get to have more fun.”
That also means the channel’s success won’t strictly be judged based on viewership directly. Part of the goal will be to encourage people to sign up for Prime or to engage with content from the channel’s sponsors. (It recently ran a Words with Friends show starring Garth Brooks, for example.) And despite the corporate divisions, the Twitch Prime group is ultimately still meant to help Twitch succeed, and its ability to try new formats could help to reach new viewers.
“This programming is designed to broaden the number of people who come to the Crown Channel,” Hilleman said, “and by nature, broaden the number of people who come to Twitch.”
The first episode of Dreamers to Streamers will premiere on Thursday at 10PM ET.