Today, there was a little bit of a skirmish between two professional YouTubers. Our dear old friend Logan Paul and KSI had an actual boxing match at the Manchester Arena where 15,000 tickets were sold (!!!!!!!!) for an event that ultimately ended in a draw and vows for a rematch.
The action onstage wasn’t the only place where viewers could get a look into the action, there was a $10 pay-per-view stream on YouTube, but more people seemed to end up watching pirated streams on Twitch with boxing fight streams reaching over a million concurrent users at one point. Streams also popped up on Twitter-owned Periscope and there were a few unofficial streams popping up on YouTube as well.
Now, forget the parties involved and the topic and the motivations for a moment if you can. I understand if it might feel more than a little difficult to feel remorse for the parties involved, that has been a common refrain for pirated content popping up from whatever group for whatever reason though.
There’s obviously a big difference between free curiosity and $10 curiosity for an event like this but it seems pretty apparent that having access to a free stream on an easily-accessible mainstream site probably dissuaded some people from paying for the event on YouTube. While people may have previously scoured the web for pop-up ridden sites to view something like this, Twitch and other services unofficially served it up on a platter.
There are plenty of events similar to this one, but so often the refrain is made that people have to turn to pirated streams because the alternative is paying for cable or something that is really against the spirit of these easy-to-access platforms. Well, here’s an example of something that falls far outside that argument.
It’s impossible to squash all of the pirated streams, but Amazon’s Twitch is a bit too mature to be hosting pirated streams in such rampant numbers without being a little more proactive — instead of just relying on user reports to police pirated content that was fairly hard to avoid stumbling upon on the platform.
Even as tech companies continue to try and crack live content, services like Twitch that don’t proactively search out users hijacking streams of big events like this really serve to complicate and deter their own goals of eventually finding a way to monetize big events like this.