During a recent stream, Leslie “Fuslie” Fu said a tearful goodbye to her beloved Twitch viewers, which led to speculation that she would soon sign with YouTube Gaming. Days later, Fu officially announced her move to YouTube by strumming a guitar, singing a song, and hanging out with her friends (and fellow YouTube signees) Valkyrae, Sykkuno, and LilyPichu.
But if Fu was so attached to her Twitch community, why would she abandon them to sign with YouTube? There are cynical answers to that question, including the ones having to do with money, but Ludwig Ahgren has a few other ideas. The YouTube-signed creator took to his Mogul Mail channel to discuss how two recent additions to YouTube Gaming — Fuslie and FaZe Swagg — fit into the platform’s roster.
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Ahgren believes that the guest stars in Fu’s video explain why YouTube was eager to sign her. The former Among Us players are “from the same ecosystem,” he said, so they can continue to collaborate on YouTube. His theory explains why YouTube signed Sykkuno, LilyPichu, and Fuslie in quick succession, and why FaZe Swagg’s early YouTube streams have featured another esports-oriented streaming star, TimTheTatman.
YouTube is making an effort to keep popular streaming crews intact. What it wants to change is the nature of the content those creators put out. Or rather, YouTube wants its high-profile streamers to keep streaming, but it also wants them to make VOD and short-form content. That’s why these exclusive contracts are always announced with polished videos. YouTube is reminding its competitors about the formats it does best.
The appeal of on-demand video has led Ahgren to the conclusion that “live viewership doesn’t matter at all.” Live creators are always going to face an uphill battle because “the competition is not just with other streamers, but with YouTube videos, which is edited stuff.” He advises up-and-coming creators to be more like SypherPK, who strikes a balance between streams and edited content, and less like xQc, the ultimate Twitch grinder. The latter creator may get more watch time, but the former is better equipped to compete with the incredible channels around him.
Ahgren admits that YouTube still has a lot of work to do. Although the Google-owned platform has assembled a formidable roster of top-tier streamers, “they’re not getting enough people switching over without signing, and I don’t think we’re going to see that change for another couple of years.”
YouTube is still putting together the tools that will allow creators like Fuslie to rebuild their fan communities. But in the meantime, those creators can experience rapid growth if they embrace the on-demand video. Look at the channel on which Ahgren made all these claims: Mogul Mail. A year ago, it didn’t exist. Since then, it has pulled in more than 50 million views.