Amazon’s Twitch partners with sports leagues, launches SDK. Will piracy follow?

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Amazon-owned Twitch enables people to share online game-play and live events over the Internet, through the Twitch portal or app, to mobile and computer users.

You might remember the first time you heard of Twitch, when a friend or family member asked you to watch while he or she play games online with friends.  Now Twitch has begun partnering with some of the world’s best-known sports leagues, to bring matches to Twitch users.

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According to ESPN, Twitch has introduced dedicated pages with a variety of sports partners, including the NBA, Major League Baseball, the NFL, National Hockey League and others.  Twitch has also partnered with four European football (soccer) clubs for exclusive content.

Image source: Twitch

Additional news coverage

Sports Pro: Real Madrid and Arsenal on board for as Twitch launches sports channel

In a related development, Amazon Web Services has made the platform behind Twitch available to video developers, branded as Amazon Interactive Video Service (IVS).  It offers APIs and a software development kit that enables video providers and app developers to add synchronized ads, chat rooms, Q&A and interactive polling to their apps.

Why it matters

Video sharing on one-to-many platforms like Twitch, Facebook’s Venue platform (launched in May with NASCAR), Twitter Multicast (launched with the PGA in June), YouTube Live and others might seem to be an obvious piracy use-case, and that the sports leagues would be fearful of it.

But the sports leagues are attracted by the level of viewer engagement enabled by these platforms because viewers can interact with one another in realtime while watching the game.  Also, these platforms bring a new generation of younger viewers to the table, via a platform that they use.

Sports programming distributed over Twitch is licensed for distribution by Twitch, and to that extent, stays within the platform.  The more concerning use-case would be the illegal sharing of copyrighted content by a Twitch user that captures the program and redistributes it outside the Twitch platform.

To counter that possibility, AWS integrates with anti-piracy technologies such as watermarking, fingerprinting, monitoring and analytics.

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