Twitch streamers are increasingly female and gaining a large following
On a recent livestream, Maya Higa, 22, ate guacamole and chips while joking with two of her roommates as they cooked quesadillas. Over the next 90 minutes, Higa roasted vegetables and consulted the pan to be used for frying. At one point, she provided her online viewers with an update on her young pet emu. “Stompy is good,” Higa said. “I got it streaming yesterday.”
She wasn’t sure, she explained to one of her kitchen buddies, how much Stompy weighed now. But the adorable emu was definitely growing fast.
The same could be said of the live audience from Higa. In February, Higa broke into the top 200 most popular designers on Tic. She now has 420,000 subscribers on the live streaming site owned by Amazon.com Inc., making her something of an anomaly in an industry known to male streamers playing video games and, to a lesser extent, male streamers. female streamers nicknamed “hot-tub girls”. who woo Twitch viewers by wearing skinny swimsuits and lounging in a tub.
Higa, on the other hand, is part of a new wave of female streamers who are gaining prominence on Twitch and elsewhere in the industry while staying away from the hot tub scene. Recently, YouTube creator Rachel “Valkyrae” Hofstetter became part owner of 100 Thieves, an esports games organization and brand. In April 2021, there were eight women among the top 200 streamers on Twitch, down from just three a year earlier, according to StreamElements, a company that provides video tools for streamers and represents Higa.
The number of top female streamers is growing now, in part due to changing preferences on the platform. In the third quarter of last year, a relatively new genre of live-streaming video known as ‘just chatting’ – essentially live video logs – eclipsed game-related content to become the hottest category. popular on Twitch. In the first quarter of 2021, “just chatting” videos made up 12% of all content watched on Twitch, according to the tracker Streamlabs.
24-year-old Imane Anys, nicknamed Pokimane, has 7.7 million Twitch subscribers. She typically divides her performance time between “just chatting” videos and games like Valorant. Twin sisters Alexandra and Andrea Botez, alias BotezLive, had 791,000 followers on Twitch, teaching and playing chess.
“You see more games at the top of Twitch that rely less on competitive value and more on the entertainment value of social dynamics,” said Doron Nir, CEO of StreamElements. “What takes them to the top is exactly the same thing that propels the male streamers to the top – they’re very, very entertaining.”
The growing popularity of group games like Among Us has made it possible for streamers to share their fans, said Hana Tjia of United Talent Agency, who represents several prominent female streamers including Pokimane, Valkyrae and Leslie Fu, aka Fuslie. “They are lifting each other up,” Tjia said.
Moving into a group house full of other Twitch performers has been another winning strategy for some female streamers, including Higa. For years, streaming houses only invited gamers. But lately we have been joined by “just chatting” streamers. Higa credits her rise in the rankings over the past year to moving into her boyfriend’s house in Texas. The house houses six banners in addition to Higa’s pet hawk and emu. “It’s kind of like reality TV,” Higa said.
The life of a female streamer has its drawbacks. “The negative side of it all, of course, there is harassment,” Higa said. “People are constantly being banned from our channels. If you go through my ban calls, it’s just disgusting: “Take off your shirt”. It’s a bit of a problem, but extremely positive. “
It’s also easy to burn yourself out living and working in a streamer house. About a year ago, Anys left the house of offline TV streaming to try to achieve a better work-life balance. She now shares a home with three other female streamers, but their interactions are private and not shared with viewers. “When you live where you work, the lines blur very easily and it’s hard to take proper breaks because there’s always something going on in person,” Anys said in an email.
Now, it is the brands that hope to gain a foothold. Many advertisers these days – who offer everything from food delivery services to phone plans – are looking to get comfortable with female streamers.
“Advertising companies generally present me as quite brand friendly,” Higa said. “The only thing I have to watch out for is swearing.”