Reese Witherspoon Pacts With YouTube For Charitable ‘Shine On’ Series Amid Quarantine

Reese Witherspoon is the latest celebrity to join YouTube’s ongoing #WithMe campaign — a sitewide push that aims to highlight ways to keep busy (while watching videos, of course) and practicing social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Academy and Emmy Award-winning actress is also the founder of media outfit Hello Sunshine, which is dedicated to female authorship across all storytelling platforms. Witherspoon’s latest YouTube endeavor has been dubbed #ShineOnAtHome, in which she will be joined by some of her favorite lifestyle experts in coming weeks. On the show, Witherspoon and guests — including experts in health, wellness, finance, food, and more — will share advice about how to persist through the pandemic and beyond.

In episode one (below), Witherspoon is joined by author Eve Rodsky to discuss her book, Fair Play, which explores how to divide domestic tasks based on a household’s needs. (Witherspoon also posted another #WithMe-marked video several days ago sharing relaxation techniques, though it’s unclear whether it’s a part of the new #ShineOnAtHome series or not).

In addition to sharing uplifting messages, Hello Sunshine is also raising funds for World Central Kitchen and its #ChefsForAmerica initiative, which is providing meals for the millions of Americans who will be out of work due to the coronavirus and struggling to put food on the table for their families. Witherspoon is using the YouTube Giving tools (by which the platform covers all transaction fees) so that viewers can tender donations by clicking on a button right next to Witherspoon’s videos. World Central Kitchen, founded by celebrity chef José Andrés, has served over 4.8 million meals to victims of natural disasters to date.

YouTube launched its #WithMe campaign to highlight popular video genres — including ‘Cook With Me’, ‘Clean With Me’, and ‘Study With Me’ — that simultaneously promote social distancing and connectedness. In addition to Witherspoon’s new series, YouTube has also hosted a three-day live stream for Dude Perfect that raised over $85,000 for the American Red Cross and Feeding America; a listen-along with Dua Lipa to fete her new album; and content from medical professionals Dr. Mike and Kati Morton.

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YouTube Sets 480p Resolution Limit On Android App Across India Amid Coronavirus Lockdown

YouTube is continuing to do its part to declutter internet traffic, as more and more quarantined citizens stay at home surfing the web to stem the spread of coronavirus.

9To5Google reports that YouTube’s Android app has enacted a video streaming resolution limit of 480p across India. The decision reportedly coincides with a 21-day nationwide lockdown in India announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 25.

While YouTube — and other video platforms — have undertaken efforts to cut down on bandwidth usage, this is the first market in which YouTube appears to have eliminated high-res streaming options altogether. YouTube offers several resolution options, and previously announced that it was making its default max resolution 480p globally (after taking similar action in the EU and U.K.) — though users can still manually select higher-res options (720p and above). Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, AppleFacebook, and Disney have taken similar amid surging traffic.

9To5Google notes that the 480p limit in India is only applicable to the Android app — though the limit applies to both YouTube Premium subscribers in India as well as those using both mobile data and Wi-Fi networks. That said, higher resolution still appears to be optional on desktop devices. It remains to be seen whether the hard limit will roll out to other countries in the future.

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Insights: Adapting Hollywood To The Pandemic, And What Happens Hereafter

We’re not quite in one of those apocalypses we’ve seen in zillions of Hollywood catastrophe shows, but it’s safe to say the COVID-19 pandemic is pushing the entertainment industry even faster into its future, accelerating the existing transformation driven by mergers, new platforms, and new consumer relationships.

“You ever think this is the end of TV,” Jimmy Kimmel asked last week when he joined Bill Simmons‘ podcast. Kimmel and Simmons were discussing the sudden shift in viewer expectations of quality programming as networks suddenly began broadcasting huge swathes of their shows from makeshift studios in stars’ homes. “I just think this is the way things are going to go.”

Simmons’ response: “Guess what? It’s fine.”

And it will be fine for a lot of entertainers who can command an audience no matter where they are, or how they’re doing it. That starts with online influencers, who’ve been working with modest production budgets and free distribution tools for their entire careers. But we’re seeing it with a lot of stars from traditional media now, too, from Kimmel to Gayle King to John Oliver to Oprah Winfrey, who are among the many taking to makeshift studios to ply their trade. They’re creating pandemic-forced media versions of the tech world’s concept of minimum viable product, or MVP.

The difference in output quality for an online influencer streaming from her back bedroom versus what’s done on a million-dollar set in 30 Rockefeller Center or Burbank had already been shrinking. Now, the difference just doesn’t seem to matter much to audiences starved for distraction by way of familiar faces.

Trevor Noah‘s online-only little show got so much love that Comedy Central decided to bring it to TV. Oliver’s Last Week Tonightalready a spartan production (by HBO standards) with a live audience and the occasional appearance of someone in a giant furry animal costume, became even more so, stripped down to a white backdrop in his own home.

Meanwhile, the networks’ traditional pilot season usually means dozens of prospective shows are shooting across Hollywood and beyond. This year, only one of 56 pilots that networks had ordered was completed before the pandemic shut down production.

The networks normally use those pilots to help decide whether to greenlight more episodes or even an entire season, and then pitch it to advertisers during the Upfronts in May. Now, just like NFL teams that didn’t get to see some players work out in person before the still-scheduled league draft this month, the networks must make multimillion-dollar decisions with far less information than they’d typically expect.

Pilot season is gone, as is any thought of what a traditional network schedule, the new fall season, or billions of dollars in advance advertising sales will look like for a 70-year-old business already under huge stress. It’s way too soon to speculate about whether they’ll come back, but it’s easy to guess anything that does will look a lot different.

Awards season for the Emmys, normally kicking into gear about now, will instead be up for a significant rewrite to figure out what’s going to qualify this year. I’m guessing the Oscars will too, as the Motion Picture Academy ponders how it defines what qualifies as a “movie” when a quarter of the year’s releasing schedule is shut down.

Meanwhile, the launches of several new streaming services seem likely to be even more complicated, birthing not only into intense competition from incumbent powerhouses, but also losing some of their best marketing opportunities.

Quibi, for instance, is still set to launch next weekend. My sources anecdotally tell me that the mobile service focused on episodic shorts is doubling down on its aggressive marketing campaign. It’s possible that a lot of new, quick-hit content is just what bored quarantinos are looking for as shelter-at-home orders are stretched for at least another month, but I always thought Quibi faced a lot of challenges. Now we’ll find out if the new ones prove to be lethal to the moonshot media startup.

Also complicated is the launch of Comcast‘s Peacock. The freemium streaming service will roll out to Comcast’s existing cable customers this month. But the big push to the broader public was supposed to come in mid-July, just before corporate cousin NBCUniversal began broadcasting endless hours of Tokyo Olympics coverage–and cross-promoting Peacock to millions of viewers. Peacock planned to feature hundreds of hours of exclusive Olympics coverage, including thrice-daily update segments. With the Olympics pushed back a year, Peacock may not fly any higher than the bird it’s named after.

Meanwhile, Google and Facebook, because they are such a big part of the online ad ecosystem, are vulnerable when online ad dollars drop amid what might be a $4 trillion blow to the world economy in April, according to Laura Martin, a Needham Securities equities analyst speaking on an Advertising Research Foundation town hall last week.

Even companies that are well positioned to thrive, like free online streaming services, may have to deal with shrinking ad revenue as the economy pinches hard. On the first Let’s DEW Lunch online discussion on Monday, Pluto.TV chief business officer Jeff Shultz said his company hasn’t seen that hit yet, though the Internet Advertising Bureau is reporting the trend more generally.

“Offsetting dynamics” may help Pluto, Shultz said. The company’s ad-supported free service, coupled with its access to key portions of owner ViacomCBS‘s library of shows, will help it attract and keep advertisers as well as audiences, especially on what he called “true connected TV.”

“It may be that we’re the last dollars that are cut,” Shultz said. “And there are $2 billion in sports [ad] dollars needing a home. Pluto is one of the hyper-growth and high-value places to put those dollars.”

“Bananas” Growth (And Pivots) For Some Digital Businesses

I’ve talked in the past week with several digital companies making substantial adaptations to the changed world.

One is AT&T digital production and talent-management unit Fullscreen, whose Beau Bryant told me live-streaming in particular “is really having a moment now. The front page of Twitch is just bananas. Six different games have more than 100,000 concurrents [watching] right now.”

But as with the Gayle Kings and Trevor Noahs of the world, more and more stars from traditional media are getting comfortable with an online presence, and an online audience.

“Independently of the COVID stuff, there’s definitely been significant growth in mainstream talent starting to embrace not just an occasional post but social video,” said Bryant, who is general manager of Fullscreen’s creator group.

The company has used the moment to spot new talent it can sign, while helping its existing client base–including some traditional stars–deal with the moment’s new demands.

“It’s hard to say what’s going to change with COVID, but we’re all trying to be there with our client base,” Bryant said. “If you’re talent, here’s what’s trending, here’s what’s working, here’s what’s not working.”

Sports networks, especially those dependent on expensive, long-term contracts for live sports programming, have been forced to repurpose their back catalog to create new kinds of programming for a difficult time.

“People have learned some things about working on a shoestring,” Bryant said. “People have had to be nimble.”

Influencers should continue to be in good shape, as audiences spend more time there, and brands keep putting money into the sector because influencer marketing works, Bryant said. Plenty of experiments will continue, but for all the epochal shifts affecting Hollywood, the dramatic changes all around us will lead to some positive outcomes too.

“This is creating the virtual town square,” Bryant said. “You’re really seeing it play out now with COVID. There’s some silver linings I see. If this had happened 20 years ago, it would have been a completely different experience.”

Note: Today (Tuesday, March 31) I’ll be interviewing Brent Weinstein, chief innovation officer and a partner of United Talent Agency, at noon Pacific as part of Day 2 of Digital Entertainment World’s daily Let’s DEW Lunch online video series. Topics and guests change daily. Register here if you’d like to join our conversation or others to come

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BBTV Launches #FunIndoors Campaign, Benefiting Doctors Without Borders’ Coronavirus Efforts

BroadbandTV, the digital media giant whose network of YouTube channels has garnered 587 million unique viewers, has launched a coronavirus-combatting initiative dubbed #FunIndoors.

The initiative will support Doctors Without Borders, a nonprofit that has provided emergency humanitarian medical care to tens of millions of people since its founding in 1971. Doctors Without Borders is currently setting up temporary hospitals the world over — and providing technical support to existing facilities — to treat and slow the spread of coronavirus.

BBTV’s #FunIndoors Movement will seek to raise funds for the organization via a dedicated GoFundMe campaign, as well as encourage people to make the most of their time indoors by posting videos with the aforementioned hashtag on Instagram or Twitter — while simultaneously tagging friends to donate and participate, too. BBTV also said it would work with its creator network to promote the initiative, while also challenging notable business figures to participate.

“The world is in need of unity right now, and that means drawing inspiration from each other to take charge of our situation,” BBTV founder and CEO Shahrzad Rafati said in a statement. “Simple acts of solidarity, whether we’re donating to amazing causes like Doctors Without Borders or sharing how we’re making the most of our time at home, are powerful measures we can take to make an impact in our global community.”

Thus far, BBTV has raised $32,116 of a $200,000 goal for Doctors Without Borders. You can add to that tally right here.

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The NewFronts Have Been Rescheduled For The Week Beginning June 22

The ever-evolving NewFronts — which announced a new format ahead of the coronavirus pandemic, and then shifted to a streaming format to accommodate social distancing protocol earlier this month — has a new kickoff date.

The event, which was initially supposed to be held from April 27 to May 6, has now been pushed to the week of June 22. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), which annually hosts the NewFronts, isn’t moving the date in hopes of holding in-person presentations, however, and is still planning for the event to be streamed. Rather, rescheduling the event will enable publishers to be creative and fine tune their messaging for the reimagined format, the organization wrote in a blog post.

“The NewFronts have always been about realizing our collective potential, not looking through the lens of the past,” IAB president David Cohen said in a statement. “In that spirit, we’re having extensive conversations with both buyers and presenters about how to leverage this year’s unique challenges to create something that’s not just ‘OK, all things considered’ but really and truly better.”

Asked whether previously-announced presenters were all on board with the date change, an IAB spokesperson tells Tubefilter, “The schedule is being revised and we are meeting with the presenters to discuss what will best suit their needs for this format. We will have an update to share over the course of the next few weeks.” (The first NewFronts schedule, announced in February, featured Amazon, BBC News, Condé Nast, Digitas, Ellen Digital, Hulu, Meredith Corporation, The New York Times, Roku, Twitter, Verizon Media, VICE Media Group, YouTube, and Vudu).

“We are committed to doing what’s best for our users, creators, and partners, and have been working closely with the IAB throughout this process,” a YouTube spokesperson tells Tubefilter of its plans. “We will share an update regarding our digital-first Brandcast soon.”

In February, before the coronavirus pandemic put the United States into quarantine, the IAB said that this year’s “New NewFronts” would comprise eight days of programming with brand new breakout sessions about influencer marketing and audio content. Then, earlier this month, YouTube opted to stream its annual Brandcast presentation rather than host an in-person event, as the IAB concurred that it “strongly recommended” streaming-only productions for all presenters.

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How U.S. Sports Are Publishing On Social Video Without Games Being Played

It’s already been two weeks since pro sports games were last played in the U.S., and the absence is not getting any easier for fans to deal with–whether they’re longing for the NBA, NHL, or MLB, which would’ve started its regular season this week. But while the coronavirus-enforced loss of matchups is tough for fans, it’s tougher still for the teams and leagues themselves, which now have to figure out how to keep fans interested during an extended hiatus from actual games.

Teams are used to it, to some extent. During the offseason, there are highlights to show and fan contests to publish. But that’s also following the finality of the season before. A team can point to the full results of a completed season and look back on that. With the NBA and NHL postponing games just a month away from the playoffs, and MLB would normally be ready to start the regular season, it feels like a bit of a cliffhanger right now. Some franchises are figuring out how to adapt, however.

In the above graph from video analytics firm Tubular Labs, you can see the steep decline in uploads from sports creators once the games went dark. It might have taken a week to iron out exactly how to handle the new reality without new highlights, but the more recent uptick shows at least some movement in the right direction. Looking specifically at pages owned by the NBA, NHL, and MLB, Tubular data shows over 396 million views across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube between March 12 and 27.

Since March 12, the leagues themselves do seem to be doing the best job of creating popular videos that get in front of fans. Of the top 10 videos created by the NBA, NHL, and MLB (and their teams), six were from the NBA’s main feed and four were from the MLB or its Spanish-language content feed, Las Mayores. Spanish-language content has actually been a big driver for MLB, in particular, with the Las Mayores feed (just on Facebook) driving 10.6 million views since May 12, compared to 39.2 million for MLB’s main English page.

On YouTube, the top creators in this cohort have mostly come from the NBA. The league leads all creators from the group with 11.8 million views, followed by the NHL (951,000), MLB (773,000), and then basketball’s Milwaukee Bucks (351,000), Dallas Mavericks (328,000), and Golden State Warriors (310,000). Though the NBA was still the top creator on Facebook with 34.9 million views in the timeframe, MLB (26.4 million) and the NHL (21.4 million) were much closer on that platform. The top four team-specific creators were also NBA teams there (a list that includes the Los Angeles Lakers, the Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, and the Bucks).

Many of these themes–and teams–stayed pretty consistent no matter the platform. On Instagram, the NBA led, while the NHL and Warriors actually generated more views than MLB. Nearly three quarters of the top 20 creators were owned by the NBA on that platform. For Twitter, things were a little more evenly matched, though. There, the NBA just edged out MLB in views (15.9 million to 14.8 million), with two NBA teams and two MLB teams among the top 10.

Of the top videos across platforms, most have appeared within the last week, showing that teams and leagues are only getting better at sharing content that’s resonating with fans (and/or fans are getting progressively more bored). Hopefully this isn’t put to the test in a long-term hiatus for sports. But most indications say we’re likely waiting at least another month for action to return.

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Daisy Keech Moves Out Of ‘Hype House’ Mansion, Files Suit Against Ex-Business Partners

Daisy Keech, a social influencer and fitness model who claims to be one of the co-founders of TikTok creator collective The Hype House — an allegation that is disputed by oft-credited founders Thomas Petrou and Chase Hudson — has officially moved out of the group’s Los Angeles mansion. Keech has also filed a federal lawsuit against influencer-entrepreneur Petrou and Hudson, a 17-year-old eboy with 17.8 million TikTok followers.

According to Forbes, Keech collected her remaining belongings from The Hype House, flanked by an armed security guard, earlier this month. And Keech’s new lawsuit accuses Petrou and Hudson of striking business deals without her knowledge or involvement, exiling her from the group, and attempting to position themselves as the only co-founders of the venture.

Keech alleges she came up with the idea for The Hype House in partnership Petrou last fall. The two then teamed up with Hudson before onboarding two other stars: Alex Warren (8.1 million TikTok followers) and Kouvr Annon (4.8 million). Keech says that she and Hudson each contributed $18,000 to put down a deposit on the 6,000-square-foot Encino mansion, whereas Petrou, Annon, and Warren each contributed $5,000. (Keech also shared a YouTube video over the weekend outlining her side of the story, which you can check out below).

Keech tells Forbes that, early on, the co-founders reached an oral agreement to share any revenues from brand sponsorships, merch sales, and other business ventures — though no specifics were ever formally put on paper. That said, she alleges that Petrou and Hudson subsequently struck sponsorships with Chipotle and Bang Energy drinks without her inclusion. Additionally, Keech and Hudson have filed dueling trademark applications for The Hype House name, as a line of branded merchandise is reportedly in the works.

With her lawsuit, per Forbes, Keech is seeking control of The Hype House trademark, repayment for her share of any income that has been brought in to date, as well as a means of formalizing the various stakeholders in the venture.

In the meantime, Keech has formed a new creator collective called Clubhouse, which will reside in a 12,000-square-foot Beverly Hills mansion — twice the size of The Hype House. Among the first members are comedy creator Chase Keith (4.4 million TikTok followers) and fitness and lifestyle star Abby Rao (847,000 followers), though Keech told Forbes that she wants to focus on creators with a presence on other platforms beyond TikTok, including YouTube and Instagram. Keech says she formed the Clubhouse — the launch of which has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic — with at least one outside investor: New York real estate developer Amir Ben-Yohanan.

The Hype House drama began to percolate earlier this month amid the trademark disputes, followed by subsequent conflicts regarding the rental property itself — whereupon word of Keech’s rival faction first emerged.

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John Krasinski Launches ‘Some Good News’ YouTube Channel, Gaining 330K Subscribers Overnight

Travel may be off-limits, but YouTube viewers can still take a trip back to Scranton, Pennsylvania, thanks to actor John Krasinski’s new channel.

Krasinski is best known for playing lovable prankster Jim in all nine seasons of The Office. He’s since gone on to star in numerous notable projects like horror film A Quiet Place and Amazon‘s political thriller Jack Ryan, but his turn as Pam’s husband and iconic camera-starer is firmly lodged in fans’ hearts–and on competing streaming services.

Perhaps with that in mind, Krasinski introduced his new project, a YouTube channel called Some Good News, with a reunion between himself and fellow Office alum Steve Carell, who starred as “world’s best boss” Michael Scott. Krasinski’s overall goal with the channel is to crowdsource bits of heartwarming news that he’ll present, in full host’s suit and tie, from his home. “For years now, I’ve been wondering, why is there not a news show dedicated entirely to good news?” he asks at the beginning of his and Carell’s video.

To gather material for the episode, he reached out to fans on Twitter, asking them to provide links to good news stories. Some of the bits highlighted in his episode include the continued heroism of healthcare staff combating COVID-19, a person who put out toilet paper and full-size bottles of hand sanitizer for delivery people to take, and a person who bought 100 lobsters from a struggling fisherman, then cooked them and delivered them to neighbors.

After the news rundown, Krasinski introduces Some Good News’ “entertainment correspondent”–and up pops Carell, calling in via webcam.

“It’s so good to see you, and thank you so much for doing this,” Krasinski tells Carell. “We are trying to start a news network just for good news, and boy, are you good news.”

The two note that their reunion celebrates the 15th anniversary of The Office’s first season premiere, and revisit some of their favorite filming moments. Carell says it’s “a happy surprise” to see The Office is still gaining fans who are discovering it for the first time on Netflix. As for a long-demanded reunion of the show’s entire cast, Krasinski is pretty vague: “Hopefully one day we just get to reunite as people and all get to say hi.”

The duo’s video has netted more than 2.6 million views in the 18 hours since it was uploaded, and is currently No. 1 on YouTube’s Trending tab. Some Good News now has more than 330,000 subscribers.

On Twitter, Krasinski said he’s “totally blown away by the response,” and asks fans to keep sending news.

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Night Media Hires Fullscreen Exec Michael Gordon To Open L.A. Office, Expand Client Roster (Exclusive)

Fullscreen’s longtime director of talent, Michael Gordon, has exited the company to join Night Media, the talent management and digital marketing agency that represents star YouTubers like MrBeast (33.4 million subscribers), Preston (26.9 million), and Typical Gamer (9.04 million).

Gordon joined Fullscreen in 2013, and during his time there signed top clients like Tfue (11.6 million), DALLMYD (10 million), and Mind of Rez (4.01 million). He most recently forged brand deals at Fullscreen with the U.S. Navy, Puma, GFuel, and Experian.

As Night Media’s new VP of talent management, Gordon will open the company’s first office outside its HQ in Dallas. He’ll be based in Los Angeles, and will work on securing further opportunities for Night’s current roster of 12 clients, who collectively have more than 100 million subscribers and net 1.6 billion views per month. His responsibilities also include expanding that roster–but not by much. Reed Duchscher, the former NFL manager who founded Night Media in 2014 and serves as its CEO, tells Tubefilter that his company keeps a slim client list because their fundamental goal is to sign creators whose platforms can be built into major media businesses.

“We don’t really sign content creators, we sign entrepreneurs,” he says. “We sign people who want to grow their internal businesses. You can just look at someone like Preston, who started with one YouTube channel with us, and now it’s six YouTube channels and a large merchandise company and a kid’s production studio and all these other tentacles we’ve helped them build.”

Night’s approach to business-building was what drew Gordon to the position. “I strive to provide the best service in the industry for the clients I work with,” he says. “And partnering with an already established company allows me to have the resources I need to be super successful. For me, it was very hard to find the right partner, but Reed and I do so well together I think it was a naturally good fit.”

For the L.A. office, Gordon has so far hired two managers (who will be announced separately) and an assistant. Duchscher says Night is in the process of “figuring out one or two other managers that are embedded in the digital space and are also located in L.A.,” and expects the office to grow to around six or eight people total in the coming months.

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Twitch ‘Stream Aid’ To Combat Coronavirus Raises $2.8 Million, Nabs 135,000 Concurrent Viewers

On Saturday, Twitch hosted a celeb-studded marathon charity broadcast dubbed Stream Aid to raise money for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund — whose aims are to prevent, detect, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic on a global level.

The 12-hour stream, which saw appearances from YouTuber Lindsey Stirling, Joe Jonas (who faced off against top gaming luminary Turner ‘Tfue’ Tenney in a Fortnite battle), Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman (who hosted a meditation tutorial), Charlie Puth, and John Legend, raised roughly $2.8 million for the cause, Twitch confirmed over the weekend. All told, WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund has raised a total of $108 million (of a $675 million goal) in just two weeks.

According to creator analytics firm Arsenal.ggStream Aid garnered peak concurrent viewership of 135,000 on Saturday, and a collective watch-time of over 1.2 million hours. Donations are still being accepted right here.

During Stream Aid, individual creators could raise money for the fund by launching their own campaigns using Twitch’s donation tools, or simply by co-streaming alongside the official Stream Aid on their respective channels. Furthermore, Procter & Gamble announced that it had donated $1 million to the cause, while Twitch also launched a new emote for the occasion — a virtual hug in the form of a gradient-hued heart. (Emotes are icons that proliferate in Twitch chats, and serve as a native means of communication on the platform).

And Twitch has said that the 12-hour Stream Aid is just the beginning of its efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The platform is readying a week’s worth of fundraising initiatives, with details to follow.

Watch live video from Twitch on www.twitch.tv

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