Kick, an Australian competitor, is making headlines for its rapid rise and unapologetically permissive content policies. Since its launch last year, Kick has garnered 21 million accounts, almost doubling its user base in just four months. The platform is positioning itself as the new home for young male viewers seeking a more unfiltered and unconventional streaming experience compared to Twitch, Amazon’s streaming giant.
Kick’s unique business model offers lucrative multimillion-dollar contracts to top streamers while taking only a 5% cut of their earnings, a stark contrast to Twitch’s 50-50 split. This approach has successfully attracted both prominent Twitch stars and emerging content creators, who claim to experience increased earnings on Kick. The platform’s association with Stake, an online casino sharing the same ownership, adds an additional layer to its revenue strategy. By offering substantial endorsement deals with Stake, Kick has even managed to attract mainstream figures like rapper Drake.
However, Kick’s laissez-faire approach to content moderation has stirred controversy. The platform became a haven for banned Twitch personalities like Adin Ross and hosted streams featuring explicit content, criminal activities, and controversial figures, including a white nationalist and an influencer facing human-trafficking charges.
Ed Craven, Kick’s 28-year-old CEO, acknowledges the need for adaptation amid growing scrutiny. The platform recently implemented measures like a report button and cracked down on certain types of content, including pornography. Craven emphasizes the balance between providing freedom to creators and addressing potential dangers associated with controversial content.
The platform’s roots trace back to Stake’s promotional efforts on Twitch, where it offered generous contracts to popular streamers for broadcasting gambling content. Twitch responded by banning certain types of gambling content, leading to the creation of Kick by key players involved with Stake.
Kick has faced challenges navigating a global patchwork of regulations, experiencing temporary blocks by internet service providers in Greece due to its gambling-related content. Craven insists on Kick and Stake being separate entities despite sharing some shareholders and mutual marketing benefits.
The platform’s homepage reflects a diverse array of content, from e-sports to gambling streams, with some content drawing criticism for potential harm to younger audiences. Kick’s edgy image has helped it attract notable creators like xQc, Trainwreck, and Amouranth, but it has also prompted a reevaluation of its community guidelines and content moderation policies.
As Kick grapples with its identity and navigates regulatory challenges, industry observers note its potential impact on Twitch. While Kick’s growth is undeniable, Twitch remains the giant with 35 million daily viewers and a diverse revenue model. Twitch executives, unperturbed by Kick’s rise, emphasize their focus on growing the livestreaming industry collectively.
As Kick evolves, it faces a pivotal question: Will it retain its irreverent image or succumb to the pressures of regulation and public scrutiny? The livestreaming Wild West may find itself reshaped by this unconventional contender.