The streaming site Twitch announced Tuesday that it is branching out even more from its video game-streaming core and launching a full-time channel dedicated to food. And, to celebrate, the company will be broadcasting Julia Child's classic television show "The French Chef" nonstop for four days.
The marathon starts at 5 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday and all 201 episodes will air in order. Twitch chose the start date, March 15, to commemorate the anniversary of Child's graduation from Le Cordon Bleu in 1951.
The streaming stunt is very similar to the company's launch of Twitch Creative, a section of its site dedicated solely to videos that don't feature gameplay, when it broadcast every episode of "The Joy of Painting" with Bob Ross -- a promotion that nabbed it 5.6 million unique viewers. The new food channel itself is an outgrowth of Twitch Creative; the company noticed a lot of interest in cooking streams, even without any promotion from Twitch itself.
"As with everything we do, this really was community driven," said Bill Moorier, the head of Twitch Creative. "We've started to see a lot of dedicated cooking and food-prep channels, and wanted to be a bigger part of it."
The new channel will feature different cooking and other food-centric programming once the marathon is done, Moorier said, and the company hopes that the official food channel will bring more attention to the channels of individual food streamers on the site as well, such as vegan chef FakeGamerGirl and cooking streamer DomesticDan, whom Moorier said is close to being able to support himself from the money made on his Twitch stream.
Twitch, which was bought by Amazon in 2014, has seen its Creative traffic double since the section launched in October, Moorier said. (Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.) The Creative section of Twitch now sees more than 2,000 streams per day. Overall, Twitch has around 8.5 million active users per day -- a 20 percent increase from the same period last year.
Meanwhile, as Twitch has branched out from game-streaming, it's also facing more competition in the gaming video market. Google's YouTube launched a dedicated game-streaming section, YouTube Gaming, over the summer as a destination for live and recorded gaming videos. According to a report from Newzoo, YouTube Gaming is pulling in nearly twice as many viewers as Twitch as both pursue a market that the analysis firm predicts will pass 500 million regular viewers this year.