Publishing lessons

Board games & crowdfunding

Elevating smaller publishers

14th June 2023 0

Back in May, I stumbled across a new internet show called Elevated, created by the OTK Network, and it was a fascinating idea that I followed through to its completion.

I should note here that Elevated is not suitable for children and features considerable amounts of “internet humour.”

To understand Elevated, we need to first take a look at a few things.

Twitch is a streaming platform where anyone can create live content and share it with the world. It’s dominated by larger streamers who have grown audiences over many years, but there are over 7 million creators on the platform fighting for viewership.

OTK is a network of large content creators who have grouped together to build a very powerful media company. While the individuals primarily grew from streaming video games, they now provide all types of content, including online shows, and they receive hundreds of millions of hours of views a month between them.

If you have ever streamed on Twitch, you may know how challenging it is to be noticed, and OTK took it upon themselves to find a solution. They created an application process where anyone could submit an application and tell them why they should be on the show.

Over 10 episodes, the selected streamers, some of whom averaged just 5–10 viewers per stream, were featured across all the members of the OTK network’s Twitch channels and broadcast to millions of people. They were given challenges related to streaming and then scored on how well they did.

Some contestants would move on to the next episode, while others wouldn’t. Those spots were then filled with new streamers to keep 6 people per episode.

The final episode saw all the streamers flown to Las Vegas to do a live show in a studio and compete in person. They were given $1,000 each and told to create a 5-10 minute show that could be performed on a stage.

A winner was picked who received $50,000, along with a host of benefits such as working with a team to help them rebrand (if they wish) and upgrade their setup.

Most importantly, every contestant on the show was given an opportunity to show the world who they were and what they did, with most increasing their audience size by considerable amounts and building relationships with huge influencers. Some of the contestants have already started working alongside members of OTK in crossovers, which has helped grow their channels considerably.

An important thing to note is that each episode focused on challenging the contestants to complete a task related to streaming. It wasn’t arbitrary but rather pushing them to expand their skill sets, try new things, and see how they cope in different environments. There were gaming streams, reacting to content streams, walking around a city streams, cooking streams, and much more.

The thing that most fascinated me here was the idea of a group of very successful individuals within an industry teaming up together and working to elevate smaller creators. They took it upon themselves to fix the challenges of being new and offered substantial benefits to the contestants.

In the board game industry, I could see this type of show working with media creators, and even game designers, but could it be reworked for publishers?

I’d love to see a team of 5-10 influential publishers team up and create such an event for smaller, lesser-known publishers. It would be a challenging and time-consuming task. They’d be unlikely to have the technical setups to make a show, and perhaps publishing is too visually uninteresting to work in the same way as media creation. But perhaps, somewhere in the idea of Elevated, there is a good idea waiting to be found?

Frank West

Frank West is a gamer and designer based in Bristol, UK. He published his first board game, The City of Kings, in 2018 and now works on other games and organising events in the local area. His goal? To design and publish games focusing on immersive themes, fun mechanics and beautiful components. If you have any questions or would just like a chat, feel free to get in touch at any time!

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