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Amazon Prime's newest perk: Twitch

Live video hub Twitch plans to remove ads and provide other perks for Amazon Prime subscribers as part of the companies’ first major combined offering since joining forces two years ago.

The Twitch Prime deal, announced Friday afternoon, could add to the popular platform’s 100 million users and boost revenue for its 2 million video creators. For Amazon, plugging into the service it acquired for nearly $1 billion furthers its ongoing effort to conquer online entertainment as well as shopping.

Determining the features that would make Amazon’s $99-a-year service appealing to the video game enthusiasts who dominate Twitch’s viewership was a long, difficult process, said Chief Executive Emmett Shear.

“I’m proud of the result,” he said. “Not only do you get all Amazon Prime benefits, for no additional cost, you get a bunch of gamer-specific benefits.”

That includes free premium access to one Twitch channel, a $5 monthly value that brings with it exclusive content and the chance to support a favored video producer. Other benefits include digital vanity items to make a Twitch profile stand out and a discount (20% in the U.S.) on Amazon purchases of hard-copy video games during their initial launch.

Amazon, which is seeking to become a bigger player in distributing apps and digital media, will offer Prime members free downloads of a rotating mix of video games and virtual items usable in games, including some exclusives.

Prime already gives online shoppers shipping discounts and free streaming of movies, TV shows and music. Twitch sells a Turbo subscription for $9 a month that includes ad-free viewing and other benefits available through Prime too.

By providing more features than Turbo or a channel subscription, Twitch Prime could entice more people to pay for content. The additional subscribers could be a boon for video producers.

Existing Prime subscribers can link their Twitch and Amazon accounts to access the new benefits.

The unveiling of the package coincided with TwitchCon, the San Francisco company’s annual event. About 35,000 users are gathering at the San Diego Convention Center to mingle with stars, try games and meet friends they might know only from the Internet.

On Friday, the company also began inviting users to upload recorded videos. Until now, all Twitch videos had been produced live on the service. That’s fostered a huge community of users who interact with each other in live chats during broadcasts. But amateur video makers have been limited in terms of editing their work.

The company intended to allow uploads much sooner, but underestimated the technology development needed to support the feature. Technology upgrades will expand better-quality streams to more users in the coming months.

Additional integration between Twitch and its parent company are expected, though Shear declined to specify how. Earlier this year, Twitch streamed the first episodes of some new Amazon TV shows.

“Every time we find something that’s valuable to Twitch customers and Amazon customers, we’ll take it,” Shear said.

paresh.dave@latimes.com / PGP

Twitter: @peard33

 

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