Pioneered by WarpPrism, serious contenders for alternative stream browsing client/aggregate have popped out from the likes of www.Twitch.TV and www.WellPlayed.tv to streamline and add value to the viewer experience. Although almost every option serves Justin.tv streams, each client have built their own unique sets of features, but two that all share (or will have) are fast stream switching and Picture-in-Picture (PiP).
One unintended (or just largely overlooked) consequence of these two features are its financial repercussion with the casters whom provide the entertainment. Fast-switching provides a "channel-flipping" like experience for the viewer, and to enable it one necessary sacrifice to make this possible is to disable pre-roll ads, an important component of caster revenue. PiP, on the other hand, enable viewers to practically watch multiple streams in a simple browsing interface, created a sudden, effective increase in viewer base from which draw ad-impressions from. These two variables moves revenue streams in opposing directions, whether one willl overpower the another, and the magnitude of these change, can have significant repercussion to this significant source of income in our nascent industry.
- Impression: one instance where a viewer watched an ad from start to finish
- Pre-roll: A term for ads that played when first tuned into a stream. It can be considered a "free" impression and has significant correlation with unique visitors (for the purpose of this study, they're consider equivalent).
- Standard ad: Streamers can run an ad on Justin.tv every x-minutes they streamed. One important feature that Justin.tv provides to game-casters is the ability to "stock-up" on ads and choose when to run them. An effective streamer can run appromixately 3-4 ads a hour.
- Ad revenue: roughly $2~5 per thousand impression according to various sources.
- Impression = Pre-roll ads + Standard ads
- Revenue = Impression * $$/thousand
- M = unique viewer multipler (define: unique viewer / average viewers)
- V = average viewer
- WP = a number between 0 to 100% that corresponds to the percentage of viewers that utilize alternative video clients
- PiP = a number between 0 to 100% that corresponds to the percentage of alternative client users that uses PiP
- Ad = average ads played per hour
- Hour = average hours per session
Equilibrium points:The pseudo equations collapse to:
- Impressions = M * V * (1- WP) + (1 + WP) * V * PiP * Ad * Hour
- Revenue lost due to pre-roll block = M * V * WP
- Revenue gained due to PiP effective viewership increase = WP * V * PiP * Ad * Hour
System is equilibrium if and only if revenue lost = revenue gain:
V WP= WP VPiP Ad Hour
- M = PiP Ad Hour
System is benefitial to casters if revenue lost < revenue gain
- M < PiP Ad Hour
System is detrimental to casters if revenue lost > revenue gain
- M > PiP Ad Hour
Interesting enough, because we have removing a substantial number of variables, whether the growth of alternative clients have an affect on ad revenue is fairly simple and dependent only a single variable - the viewer multipler M. PiP, Ad, and Hour are all fairly basic variables that can be reliably approximated.
For example, in a typical 3-hour stream, a M value higher than 10 guarantees that growth of alternative stream client will lead to a substantial decrease in revenue, whereas a M value lower than 3 guarantees substantial revenue growth.
ConclusionThis system of analysis lead to a surprisingly simple conclusion that depends on a single measurable variable M. Current trend indicate that alternative stream clients are popular and their usage growing, thus understanding where does M stands have a paramount importance to how client developers, stream providers, and us viewers should welcome or discourage these clients and its features. I welcome Justin.tv and its streamers to do studies to determine the exact M value of SC2 streaming, thus we can all understand the proper stance forward.
Further studyHow to determine M, where M is the unique viewer multipler defined as unique viewer / average viewers.
Stream multiple sessions of similiar viewership level, set half without pre-roll and half with pre-roll. The difference is the total pre-roll impression, which when divided by your average viewership will beget M.
For stream provider
M is the divisor of unique viewership of a stream against the average viewership.