Get ready for a forest of happy little trees. Twitch, the online streaming service focused heavily on games, will run a marathon stream of every episode of that 80s/90s classic, "The Joy of Painting."
The service will show all 403 episodes from Oct. 29 to Nov. 6 on its own dedicated channel, as a celebration of Ross' birthday. The move also kicks off the launch of a new section of the Twitch site, called Twitch Creative. The section evolved out of the growing number of painters, sculptors, sewers and other artists who've turned to the live-streaming social media service to share their passions for art.
Ross, with his prolific painting and calm demeanor, was arguably the art world's first mass media streamer, said Twitch Creative head Bill Moorier. So what better way to celebrate the new section?
"I think Bob Ross would like what's happening on Twitch Creative," Moorier said.
Tune into any of the dozens of streamers who already broadcast their art in real-time on Twitch, and it's hard not to think of Ross as they talk through what they're doing for the benefit of their viewership. Some of the artists do focus on game-themed art — drawing characters from games, concentrating on art inspired by certain titles or just using the sketch breaks in between gaming sessions — but others are not.
Moorier said that some creative streamers already pull in more than of 2 million viewers per month, adding that the section of the site has recently started growing by about 40 percent per month, each month.
The growth around art on Twitch echoes how gaming videos took off when Twitch was just a part of a larger streaming service, Justin.tv. The company became Twitch Interactive in 2014, with a primary focus on gaming, and was bought by Amazon later that year after a nearly $1 billion acquisition.
(Amazon chief executive Jefferey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
"We're seeing exactly what happened at the beginning of Twitch," Moorier said. "We're just stepping in a shining a light" on something that's already taking off on its own, he said.
Twitch has fast-become a household name among gamers, but faces heavy competition from other tech firms looking to expand their live-streaming options. Google's YouTube recently launched its own gaming vertical called YouTube Gaming that takes direct aim at the Twitch's grip on the livestreamed gaming market.
It's also, oddly, giving Twitch some competition in the Bob Ross department: earlier this week, 13 episodes from the first season of Ross's show became available for streaming on his show's YouTube channel.