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Why Amazon Is Putting More Than Video Games on Twitch

If you don’t subscribe to Amazon Video but feel really, really curious about its new lineup of original shows, you can get a preview, courtesy of Twitch. Amazon’s pilots for upcoming series, including a reboot of The Tick and Woody Allen’s Crisis in Six Scenes, will be available briefly on the Amazon-owned game-streaming service.

It seems like a strange fit for Twitch, which is primarily known as a place to watch and broadcast video games, not scripted series. So if you’re wondering why a video game site is suddenly hosting high-concept comedy-dramas, you’re not alone.

Deadline Hollywood reports that Amazon’s new original series lineup will debut on Aug. 19 through Amazon Video. Two weeks later, the first episodes will be available for free on Twitch for 24 hours. For a series like The Tick, this may make sense; there’s a pretty strong crossover between the fans of video game livestream and superhero comedies. As for Crisis in Six Scenes, maybe gamers keep DVD copies of Sleeper, Manhattan and Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) next to their Blizzard collector’s editions.

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Jokes aside, though, Amazon’s plan does make a bit of sense. Amazon invested almost $1 billion in buying Twitch; it probably didn’t do that just to maintain the service’s status quo. In fact, the differences between the audiences for Twitch and Amazon Videos may work in Amazon’s favor. Amazon has nothing to lose by presenting its original programming on Twitch, which could expose the shows to a whole new group of content-hungry consumers who weren’t even aware they wanted more Woody Allen in their lives.

As it stands, Twitch doesn’t have that much in the way of streaming original content. Given how successful series like Mozart in the Jungle and Transparent have been for Amazon Video, it’s not surprising that Amazon would want to replicate that success on another platform. Whether Twitch will get its own lineup of original shows or continue to act as a sneak peek for Amazon’s content remains to be seen.

In either case, the setup is a win-win for Twitch viewers, and it’s hard to imagine Amazon won’t nab at least a handful of new subscribers to its $99-a-year Amazon Prime service.