This summer, influencer Adin Ross went live to thousands of followers on Kick, an up-and-coming platform in the world of livestreaming. Since its launch last year, the Australian company has attracted a vast audience by luring away top Twitch stars with multimillion dollar contracts and taking only 5 percent of streamers’ earnings. However, Kick’s permissive attitude towards content moderation and endorsement deals with an online casino site have sparked controversy. Ed Craven, the 28-year-old chief executive of Kick, has acknowledged the need for stricter regulations, but the question remains whether the company actually wants to abandon its rebellious image. The idea for Kick originated from the success of Stake, an online casino site Craven started in 2017. When Stake began offering Twitch streamers lucrative contracts to broadcast themselves gambling on its site, it resulted in significant interest in gambling content on Twitch. In response, Twitch banned the streaming of online slots and other games on unlicensed sites like Stake.com. As a result, several Twitch streamers, including Ni Nickanm, Bijan Tehrani, and Ed Craven, launched Kick as an alternative platform. Kick has since attracted a large number of active streamers and viewers and has seen rapid growth in its gambling-related content. There has been a notable shift in the type of content that is being streamed, as gambling-themed videos have become increasingly popular. Despite generating losses as a company, Mr. Craven emphasizes the marketing value that Kick provides for Stake, and defends their insistence that the two entities are separate and distinct. He highlights the measures Kick has implemented for restricting underage viewers from watching gambling streams and dismisses criticism as unwarranted. Mr. Craven brushes off claims that Kick can afford to operate at a loss and considers the long-term profitability of their enterprises as the primary focus. Influencers like Nick Kolcheff and Sam Pepper are fandom favorites, and as a growing number of spectators watch livestreams on gambling sites, concerns increase regarding the influencement of gambling to young viewers. These ongoing issues are anticipated to impact the trajectory of Kick’s growing success.
Inside Kick: The Rising Challenger in the Streaming World, Defying Twitch
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