By Jacob Aldrich

If you have been on the internet for the past couple of months, you might have heard of some people named IShowSpeed or Kai Cenat. These are some of the top streamers in the world and have a very popular audience with the 10- to 20-year-old demographic, and have even made headlines with stunts that have caught the attention of New York City police, or by meeting global soccer superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo. But who are these people, and how did they get such a massive audience and these opportunities? They are the new generation of streamers, and there are more of them coming by the minute.

So, what exactly is a streamer and what makes them so captivating for their audiences? Streamers are different from traditional video uploaders, in that their content is live for their audience, and they can also interact with their audience via “the chat” the in time message log that viewers can type in and be seen by the streamer. This also allows for one of the biggest draws for streamers, which is monetization. On certain platforms, if someone gets enough views and viewers, they can earn money and can even reach millionaire status. The most recent estimation for the top 10 streamers on the platform Twitch, shows that the top 10 streamers make somewhere around $50,000 each month, with the number 1 earning around $100,000-$200,000 a month!

Now that we see what they do, how did they garner such a following and get the opportunities they do? In the case of IShowSpeed, an 18-year-old American streamer, he had the opportunity to meet international superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. He got famous for being very vocal, animated and being very confused and infatuated with soccer players, the sport of soccer, and being interactive and charismatic with his audience. This afforded him the opportunity to fly to Lisbon to watch a game for the Portuguese national team, which whom a player on this time watches Speed and has talked to him before. This player made the opportunity happen for Ronaldo and Speed to meet, and the clip of them meeting has been shared all over the internet, being viewed cumulatively millions of times over.

These amazing opportunities are the result of the streamers loyal viewers, who can donate to the steam in exchange for recognition from the streamer or by allowing for their message to be broadcast to the whole audience. These streamers can also have lucrative brand deals, such as a streamer named Ninja, who has partnered with Red Bull, Reebok, and Adidas just to name a few companies. The streamers can also pick any numerous types of content they wish to stream. Some of the most popular ones stream them playing video games, but others paint art, cook, do fitness content, or even just react to other streamers or videos on the internet. These make their audience almost limitless, as they can cater to a wide variety of demographics. So the next time a peer or child mentions something about streamers, it might be interesting to take them up on a conversation and try to learn about someone’s interest, and maybe find a new source of entertainment!

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you ever heard of, or watched, a streamer before?
  2. Do you have a child who watches streamers?
  3. Would you ever consider sitting down and watching a stream with a friend or family member?
  4. Would you let your child stream themselves?
  5. What are some of the risks streamers are exposed to online?

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