Where Magic And Metrics Meet With Damian Skoczylas

TLEP 60 | Handling Social Media Trolls


Let’s dive in numbers with livestreaming metrics. Special guest Damian Skoczylas joins to discuss the next frontier of the attention economy. He is an entertainment and media executive born in traditional Hollywood, merged with the emerging digital entertainment landscape, focusing on branded entertainment, creative dealmaking, marketing, and representation of top-tier digital-native talent. Hear how the talent industry has evolved as digital content has evolved and how it compares to traditional entertainment. Find out what Damian thinks of the future of multichannel networks and their place in live streaming. Uncover your perspective on working with talent and how to balance your budget. Get tips on finding the right creator for your live event campaign. Learn about accessing data from live shopping. Gain an understanding of how to get started in the streaming space and discover Damian’s top advice for brands and talent to achieve the best livestream metrics and delight customers.

Where Magic And Metrics Meet livestreaming With Damian Skoczylas

We have a special guest named Damian Skoczylas. 

The easy way to remember it is you have Scotch, and someone takes it away, and now you’re Scotch-less.

How many times have you had to explain that to people?

It’s about five times a day.

What’s the origin of your last name? Where’s your family history?

It’s Polish, but I am not Polish. It’s an adopted last name. My last name, of all things, should be Smith, which is very simple and Anglo-Saxon. I get to have a fun, colorful, Polish last name.

Anything that can make someone interested in this world of online content is a big win. I appreciate that. I’m excited to get into a conversation with you. For the audience, Damian is an entertainment and media executive born in traditional Hollywood, merged with the emerging digital entertainment landscape, focusing on branded entertainment, creative deal-making, marketing, and representation of the top-tier digital native talent. Before joining the company ICON as Managing Director, Damian was SVP of Talent at Bottle Rocket Management, SVP of Talent at Studio 71, Head of Talent Development at AwesomenessTV, and Senior Talent Manager at Fullscreen. That is quite a history, Damian.

You’ve been focusing on digital native talent growth, development, and revenue generation. Before joining the digital entertainment business, you worked at Hollywood Management Company, Untitled Entertainment, and Talent and Branded Entertainment departments. A lot of entertainment, digital native focus, management, and revenue. You’ve seen a lot of different sides of these worlds that Nicolas and I and our audience are very passionate about. We’re thrilled to have you here with us. Before we kick off that conversation, Nicolas has a brief update on what’s going on over at eStreamly.

First of all, I’m so excited to have you, Damian. I noticed some of the work you’ve been doing and online. I got excited and reached out to you. When you say, “Yes, I’d love to join,” I’m like, “That’s so awesome. I’m so excited to have you.” I wanted to remind the audience that for October 2022, we have this free program for anyone that is interested in the livestream live shopping space. There will be a couple of partners learning from us.

We are doing three months program where the first month’s going to be about training, how you get live, how you get set up, or how you think about marketing your event and all the different touchpoint that you have to be successful in your life. The last two months will be all about giving feedback on your livestream shopping events. If you’re interested in this, it’s a free program. Feel free to go to our website, estreamly.com.

With no further ado, Nicolas, where should we begin with Damian? I know you have a lot of questions that you’re eager to ask. Why don’t you kick it off?

When I was listening to the whole biography, I’m like, “How is someone getting into that industry?” It’s very interesting from that perspective of managing talent and doing that. We had a lot of people coming from a brand side on the show or more on the support side of livestreaming. We didn’t have anyone. That’s why I was so excited about having you, Damian, which is helping talent develop themself and grow. For people that are interested in this space and more from that standpoint, how do they get started? How did you get started? How did that come about? I’d love to hear your start there.

I’ll start at the top. I fell into entertainment in college. The very popular show at the time was Entourage. A lot of us wanted to be Ari Gold. He was the character we all loved and thought was absolutely hilarious. I ended up at a town agency, working with talent, actors initially. I got disillusioned with the whole Entourage thing. There are a lot of true things in there, but it’s also a very much fictionalized version of it.

All the things you hear about the nutritional entertainment space of the gruffness and the toughness are true. To some extent, it’s gotten a lot better as time has gone on. When I was at a talent agency, I felt that management was more my speed. There are a couple of different differences. Agents are the big sellers’ managers and are more of the career strategist for talent. They help them, guide their careers, and do a little bit more than sell. You do some elements of selling. Untitled was the place I ended up landing and got to cut my teeth on some bigger talents that are more of the A-list style.

I was able to have my own client list as well. It was a great place to be in a great family environment. A smaller company wasn’t one of the big talent agencies that you read about having hundreds of employees. We had less than twenty for the whole company. I got a little bit disillusioned with the whole acting space and wanted to see where the ball was going. This was around 2013. The digital landscape was what was intriguing to me. I didn’t even know what that meant or what that was, but I kept hearing digital. When you are in the traditional entertainment space, you have blinders.

It’s like, “This is the only thing there is. There’s nothing else out there.” I was able to get introduced to a company called Fullscreen. For the first three months, I had no idea what was happening. It was very mind-boggling to me. The talent we’re making, some of them were making hundreds of thousands of dollars on YouTube alone. That’s not in addition to the brand deals. That was very surprising to me. You hustle very hard in the traditional entertainment space. It’s very hard, and the payoff is very small in a lot of cases. I was very intrigued. It took me a long time to wrap my head around it. I was able to rise quickly there. Having the traditional entertainment skillset set me apart from everyone else.

Everyone else was 22 coming into it. They also had the title of Talent Manager, which is a very coveted title in the traditional space. I had a chip on my shoulder the whole time to be like, “I’m going to jam this through as quickly as possible.” I was able to run circles around a lot of my colleagues and rose through prominence really quickly there. I continue my career at some of these other companies. These companies are called multichannel networks. This is an industry that is come and gone. It’s still here a little bit, but companies would amass big sections of YouTube channels and take some of their AdSense earnings. In theory, the whole idea was that they would be able to help the talent grow and mature. It offers brand deal support and some talent management support.

Being at these companies, I wasn’t a talent manager, so I had to toe the line of the company when a lot of times, I didn’t necessarily agree with those points of view. It was great for my career. I rose through the ranks very quickly. I became a manager of people, which was what I wanted to do. Part of talent management for me is also managing people. I have this pathological need to help people. It’s how I describe it. I’ve been doing this for about five years at three different companies. At around 2018, I hit a point where I said, “I wanted to get back into what I like doing best, which is helping talent and also providing the service that justifies taking money from them.”

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The digital landscape changed a lot. It’s not totally like this anymore, especially in the early days. There were a lot of mechanisms that people were monetizing talent. It’s not necessarily in a fruitful way that I felt good about it. What I felt that I wanted to do was get back into management. That’s where I landed. Bottle Rocket Management was started by a good friend of mine. We’d met at Fullscreen. I got introduced to the gaming and streaming space around late 2019. With COVID, there’s a blackout period where it’s hard to remember what year it is or was, but I got introduced to this space.

At this company, we repped family influencers and tech influencers mainly. One of the kids in the family, an eight-year-old boy, said, “I want to be a professional Fortnite player. We’re like, “Okay.” I had no idea what that even meant, but what you do as a manager is your client comes to you and says, “I want to do X, Y, and Z.” You say, “Let’s figure this out. Does it work? Does it not work?” We went, and we got introduced to one of the big eSports teams, and they brought us in. My job was on the floor the whole time. They’re talking about having private chefs for nutrition for the players, physical therapists, phlebotomists, and immersion chambers.

I’m like, “These guys play video games. What is this? This is so bizarre to me.” I got so intrigued by it and saw how mapped out and how much money is being pumped in. Lots of individual sports stars have invested very heavily in the eSports and gaming space. I was like, “This is the next frontier.” I had that feeling in 2013 of, “Where is the ball going? What’s this digital YouTube thing that’s happening?” I felt that same way about gaming and streaming. Not being a gamer myself, it’s an odd move. Looking at how we structure talent businesses and run them, it’s the same no matter if you are a musician, an actor, an influencer, a streamer, or a YouTuber. Obviously, there’s a lot of nuance in between.

This isn’t a blanket statement that says you can do it all at once. By happenstance, there’s a lot of foundation and groundwork. I got in introduced to ICON. This opportunity came up. TSM, the parent company, and Swift Media decided to have the foresight to start a talent business to supplement what they were doing on the eSports side. It is an extension to still create opportunities for the players that they represented but maybe had retired. Most eSports players retire in their mid-twenties, and then they go on to be streamers and influencers. That’s what I was tapped to run.

Most eSports players retire in their mid-twenties and become streamers and influencers. Click To Tweet

It’s been very exciting. There was a big learning curve, but working with talent is something I’ve done my whole career. It goes back to this pathological need to help people. That’s how I approach what we do and how we run the company from top to bottom. It’s helping our talent to earn money. That’s first and foremost but also helps them achieve their other career goals and expand how they think about things. What’s interesting is that the streaming space right now is very much how the YouTube space was when I started over at Fullscreen in 2013. Back then, the creators were concerned with how to make more content.

TLEP 45 | Viral Nation
Viral Nation: The streaming space right now is very much how the YouTube space was in 2013.

How do I think about monetizing? We’re a little bit at that stage with streaming in terms of thinking about big ideas. Since I have such a robust background in traditional entertainment, working in commercials, branding endorsements, and other elements like this, my job and my goal is to help streamers think that way. That’s a great opportunity right now. The potential is still not even close to being realized. That’s what’s very exciting. That’s one of the main reasons why I wanted to jump into this gaming and eSports space.

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That’s fascinating. As I was listening to you, there were a lot of things that went and unpacked from some previous conversations I have with brands and partners. One of the things that I thought was interesting, and I’d love to come back to, is we were having a meeting with people that have been living through the live shopping growth in China. We are looking at how is it in the US market and some other markets.

One of the big things was that the multichannel network for a livestreamer is not something that exists here in the US market. You talk about this saying, “YouTube had that and then it died off.” I’d love to hear your perspective from the livestream perspective. What do you think about the multichannel network? Do you feel there is no MCN here in the US market? If there are, why are the big guys not even seeing it?

In the livestreaming space, the functionality that Twitch has rolled out doesn’t exist. It’d be beneficial for a few different reasons. It’s mainly to be able to have a swath of data and help optimize. Also, post-brand deal stuff. A lot of the brands will ask for screenshots. They want to see how things performed. As you can imagine, having a roster of a lot of talent and wrangling all those things could be a challenge. I don’t necessarily believe in the MCN model as it did exist. As I said, I felt that skimming AdSense off of talent didn’t feel awesome to me.

With some talent, it’s totally fine. There are a lot of services that these companies did provide. A lot of these companies started out as pseudo-management companies and a lot of the managers and agents that you see now started at these companies. It was because this was the only shop in town, and these companies started to give creators functionality. Early on, you couldn’t monetize on YouTube. You couldn’t have a banner unless you were with one of these companies. YouTube essentially farmed out its customer service to Maker Studios, Fullscreen, Machinima, Style Hall, and these OG companies. I would love for this to exist within Twitch, selfishly, so I can track the talent data that we represent because it would make our lives a whole lot easier.

In terms of skimming AdSense, skimming subs, or skimming that, I have little moral misgivings from those things. That said, they are very big revenue generators and these companies were worth close to $1 billion at one point. There’s definitely something to be said about that. Some of these companies are very brilliant people that I still admire and am mostly in touch with. I would love for it to have some version of it here, at the very least to be able to help provide data. Also, it would help us help the talent too. Having meaningful data to provide to brands when they ask is very valuable.

Speaking of data, we are in the live shopping space, so the evolution of livestream in some ways, especially if you look at what’s going on in China. The data that you are getting is the conversion of, “Does my live convert to sales?” You did an event with HelloFresh where it was on Twitch. You were talking about you had a coupon. People can watch it. First of all, it’s a great number in terms of engagement and everything. Is that data not already the transaction of sale that is something the brand relates to, or are you thinking about all the data?

We love to have the live data of the conversions. A lot of times, the brands are providing us with their own tracking links. Unfortunately, we don’t always get to see what those conversions look like. Live, in particular, is very unique compared to my experience on YouTube. I think we’re still early days when it comes to where we’re even thinking about going with live and live commerce. It’s interesting because you can see things happen in real time. That’s a powerful tool that we pitch to brands. In the space that we work in in particular, we call it endemics and non-endemics.

Endemics mean their gaming products are gaming adjacent, gameplay or peripherals, keyboard, mice, headsets, microphones, and stuff that. Where this data is extremely helpful is being able to pitch to the more non-endemic brands. We are seeing more of those brands start to spend in the live space, but we’re not even close to hitting critical mass. Having this data is very important to convince a blue chip brand or someone who’s not even thinking about doing live or talking to these digital agencies that are only focusing on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. I may not be thinking about Twitch in reaching a very specific demographic. The gaming demographic is very specific. It’s changing a little bit, but in every screenshot, we see our talents’ demographics. It’s that males 13 to 35 and 45.

That’s the hard demographic, but that’s always the harder demographic to reach from a brand perspective. Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, famously says, “Their biggest competitor is the gaming industry itself.” This speaks volumes about what we’re doing and building. In the attention economy, reaching that demographic is very difficult. Being able to have this data is very powerful to attract brands to play within it and to build it out more so that we can expand on more than these endemics or these internet-first brands that we all see, like the HelloFresh.

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Given that you had so much experience with talent and traditional media talent, now this digital talent, you mentioned the phrase attention economy. I’m curious about your perspectives on data versus talent. There are some people who have large followings, but that might not necessarily convert live viewers to sales. There are people who are extremely talented, but they don’t have a big following.

They may be the people that make the sales because they’re either skilled with sales, educated on how to sell live, or how to be an entertainer. They might have natural ability and charisma that somebody with a large following doesn’t. As we’ve seen over the evolution of digital content, there are all these different phases. I remember when Instagram was so big, and then the shift was starting to go to short videos and live content.

When live content first came out on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, you could see a lot of people that were doing well on Instagram struggle with short videos. You’re seeing it right now with TikTok being so big. People that have done well on Instagram with big followings either aren’t able to bring their audience over to TikTok and/or I suppose they’re bringing their Instagram mentality to TikTok. It’s not the same thing, so they don’t understand it. I’ve got a few angles with this question, and I’m curious where you think talent and data, meaning followers, engagement, etc. How do you make both of them work? Do you see them as two very separate things when it comes to working with content creators?

You tee me up for one of the cutesy phrases that I say. I like to say where magic and metrics meet because that’s the perfect confluence of both things. That’s very difficult to achieve because you hit the nail on the head. I don’t get killed for saying this, but the big mega-influencers can be challenging to work with because they have a lot of creative parameters that they don’t want to cross. When you look at their conversions, they’re not great. You can have someone that has a lot of live concurrent viewers or a lot of views on the various social platforms, but they don’t always convert.

It’s very interesting. If you’re a brand strategist, you have to think about how you want to spend your budget. Do you want to spend with someone to get mega reach? There are two different brand styles that we pitch. I’ll tell you which one I prefer for obvious reasons. You have your DR campaigns that you want to have hard conversions, and then you have your awareness campaigns. It depends on if you’re brand, do you want to be in the conversation, direct sales, or both? That’s where you have to figure out what influencer you want to use.

We certainly have influencers of all different sizes. All of our children are the same. There are influencers that will convert more than others. There are some that will give more awareness than others. It depends. For me, back to my cutesy phrase where magic and metrics meet, that’s the perfect cross-section because that’s where you have someone who’s dynamic. This is what’s interesting about gaming and livestreaming in general. We don’t always have the most dynamic of personalities for every creator. That’s important to be able to carry on a conversation, engage with your audience, and not be a quiet gameplay person.

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Those are the people that do better on Twitch. People are very animated and amped up that have some niche that they’re doing from an entertainment standpoint. We represent creators that have fractions of those followings. They’re special. Those are the types of creators that I do want to represent as well. Having mega people are great because they attract other creators and brands. We call those people the lighthouses. What’s pretty interesting is that the creators that convert the most and do the most brand deals are these midtier creators.

When you’re a big creator, you can be very selective. You’re making money elsewhere and it’s not as important for you. The midtier and smaller up-and-coming developing creators tend to be the ones that are the most hungry to do these brand deals. They’re the ones that we love working with. For me, talent is talent. It doesn’t matter if you are Brad Pitt or someone streaming in their bedroom. The talent is talent and that’s what’s exciting for me. I want to work with people that I’m excited about and don’t only check a box. When you have a talent roster, there are certain things that are great to have, but for me, talent is what drives it home.

You can place bets on some small people that will eventually take off. Everyone starts somewhere. Especially in the streaming space, a lot of times, it’s a meteoric rise. If something happens, you become the next Ninja, XQC, or someone like that. It’s not too far off from hitting those, but again, it’s about talent, drive, and having the desire to work and grow your base. Our jobs are only as effective as what the talent is willing to do. We want to make sure that marriage fits on both sides and that we’re both a fit. We’re not the right rep for every single streamer out there, and that’s okay.

TLEP 45 | Viral Nation
Viral Nation: Everyone starts somewhere. And especially in the streaming space, a lot of times, it’s a meteoric rise.

Speaking of data, I wonder if you’ve seen a change in brand expectations as it relates to more and more videos that are becoming shoppable now. At least you can have some direct conversion. It’s not predominant, but we are heading that way. We talk a lot about retail media right now. There’s a big narrative around that. There is shoppable video, livestream shopping, and all that.

I wonder if being in this space, from the creator’s perspective, having a lot of the brand conversation is pretty much not a small budget. I’m assuming those are pretty expensive budgets that people are spending. Do you see that performance marketing coming back to you and asking you? Do you see a shift in the way brands engage with you, looking at that data, and trying to understand what’s going on? Are people still predominantly focused on the number of you and engagement?

For the most part, the conversations we’re having is they’re more about brand awareness and conversions. It’s not necessarily a new innovative shopping platform. That’s probably a little too new and edgy. I’ll say we’re not quite there yet. I still think that there’s a lot of room to grow on that front. We’re writing the book on how all this works. We’re still early days, but there are a lot of exciting applications that will be in place.

Since you say we are writing this book, what would you say to a streamer now who wants to write his book on this space? Being a talent manager and if you had someone saying, “I want to be the next big livestream shopper streamer that is existing in the US,” walk them through being that person.

Don’t expect success to happen overnight. We can say that about any particular profession or anything in life. It takes a lot of work. The other thing too is being open. The gaming community tends to be a little insular. This will change over time, but be open to talking to third parties. This started out in the YouTube space before we had the big talent agencies in the mix. You had friends that were the manager, the rep, and stuff.

Don't expect success to happen overnight. It takes a lot of work. Click To Tweet

That’s a little bit where we are in the gaming space. It’s being able to listen and know who those companies are that want to help you. Saying yes to opportunities, that’s the big hurdle that we face as a company. We’ve got a lot of noes on brand stuff. Especially for a creator, I can’t necessarily say what the lifespan of a streamer is now. I don’t think we have enough time to say, “Your career is going to start here and end here.” For YouTube, we have 5 or 7 to 9 years. It is the going data that we have.

We need to maximize those earning years. It’s the same if you play for the NFL, NBA, or MLB. You’re not going to be playing football unless you’re Tom Brady until you’re 50. You need to be able to maximize opportunities and be open to different things. The main challenge that we have with streamers is the ability to see a couple of years ahead and look at what opportunities you can use to leverage your audience. Do you want to play Fortnite for the next four years or do you want to leverage that into a podcast?

TLEP 45 | Viral Nation
Viral Nation: You need to maximize those earning years.

Do you want to leverage that into a series? Do you want to do a little bit more? The big initiative or branding that we have for ICON at this very moment is Gamer Plus. That means that we are gaming-centric and gaming first, but we do more. A lot of the people at our company have a pretty diverse background in the entertainment space that spans brand, working in the brand space, brand entertainment, and music. Me at film, TV, and theatrical. It’s being open to these opportunities to be able to level up and you got to do the work. That’s the big thing. When you look at a lot of these school surveys of what people’s jobs they want to do when they grow up, influencers surpassed actors or something like that. There’s a notion that all this stuff is easy and it’s not.

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I don’t know if it’s relatable but it made me think. I was on Netflix watching someone talk about podcasting. Will Smith was there. One of the things that struck me is the guy was making the illusion that he’s been successful. Not so much because he’s Will Smith. He’s an awesome actor and has a lot of presence. What he’s been very good at is doing movie after movie and always constantly producing. The guy was like, “I can’t even know how many movies you’ve done. I don’t even know what those movies are. Some are good. Some are not so good but you’ve been producing. It made me feel about that constant asshole, and that’s what makes you successful.”

It relates to Ed Sheeran. He does the same. He’s constantly doing concerts and live shows, and people are like, “Why are you having so much money?” He’s always on the scene somewhere in the world and doing those crazy tours and everything. That’s how you know that the guy is so successful. It’s by that consistency. It’s a lot of hard work.

When you think about the idea of which never occurred to me about the streamer having a short life span. Maybe 5, 8, or 10 years and we’ll see that over time. You’ve got those years. You have to be there and keep doing it. It’s hard work if you want to make it to your career and have a meaningful income at the end of it. I don’t know if you if that relates, but it made me think about that.

It’s exactly right. It’s anything in particular in life or any job, but entertainment. That’s exactly the mentality you have to have. You have to hustle and also think of the analogy of a shark, swim or die. You got to keep going. Where streamers also get in a difficult position is they build an audience. Sometimes, they build an audience playing one particular game and then they want to evolve and play other games, but their audience doesn’t want them to. That’s always a bit of a challenge. You have to figure out different ways to massage that creatively. If you are an eSports athlete playing League of Legends and you’re on the top now, you stream and play, everyone knows you as League of Legends. However, you want to play Valorant or Apex. Your audience might turn against that.

That’s difficult. A lot of streamers also have that weighing on them of the job aspect versus the pleasure and fun of playing the game. At the end of the day, the game is supposed to be fun, but they do turn into work. Also, being on camera like this and being dynamic can be draining on your personality. To hit it home, it’s all about hustle, having the right team behind you, the right agency like ICON or someone else in your life helping you to do that and take you to the next level. Take away the business functions, meaning have an agency or a talent manager be able to source opportunities and negotiate on your behalf so you can focus on the creative. That’s how you gain a lot of success.

Have an agency or a talent manager to source opportunities and negotiate on your behalf so you can focus on the creative. That's how you gain a lot of success. Click To Tweet

It made me think. You are in this business side of the talent and the brand. Being on both sides, what do you think is the biggest gap between a brand understanding talent and this talent understanding brand? We have a lot of brands tuning into the show and retailers. If you had one thing you would want to pass on, what would be that message you would want to pass on?

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It’s funny because we have to put on different hats. I have a code switch to speak brand, translate that, and speak to talent. One of the biggest things that brands do or could be doing better is understanding the talent perspective and knowing that there is a schedule and a method to the madness. Talent is not necessarily sitting around waiting for Brand X to hire them. A lot of times, they’re making a lot of money on their own streaming alone with subs and ad revenue from Twitch. The main thing brands should understand is to trust the talent with the creative which can be very difficult, but I’ve seen a lot of brands try to say, “I want them to say this exactly this way.”

The main thing brands should understand is to trust the talent with the creative. Click To Tweet The main thing brands should understand is to trust the talent with the creative.

That’s very wrong. It doesn’t work out well for the brand or the talent. The brand will probably see a bad backlash because people will start getting upset with, “They’ve sold out.” That’s not how they would say this. For the brand, trust the talent and the creative and not assume that they’re sitting there wanting to take your money. I’m in the business of pairing brands with talent, so they should, but they don’t necessarily need to. The talent side is understanding the political game when it comes to working with brands.

What I mean by that is being able to strategically pick your battles. Don’t fight over tiny little things. You need to stay on your ground and if you feel this is over the line or not going to work for your particular platform, definitely push back on that. Know that if you impress the brand and perform well, they’re going to come back. I’ll give a shout-out to Chas over at Bottle Rocket. He used to use this term called Customer Delight, and that goes on both sides. If you’re the talent, you want to be easy to work with and be the person that they call when they’re like, “So and so fell out. Can you do this video? Can you do this in a week?”

You want to be on that shortlist. The way you get on that list is by being easy to work with and also performing. You don’t want to be difficult. I’ve been on horror stories on both sides of the equation of things going awry, but also, more often than not, things going very well. You can help the talent understand how this fits into the whole ecosystem, how this could be good for their particular career, and what it could lead to. Having a solid data point on a particular type of brand could lead to something else that you want to do down the line. It’s understanding the brand’s perspective too and being able to marry the two together to be able to get the best result. The best result is where the brand is happy and the talent is happy. You don’t overnegotiate something to death.

The time is up but I still have a full page of questions about that conversation. It’s awesome. I have so much learning. I love that comparison of brand versus talent where the talent is like, “Don’t be too exigent. Be professional. Think about what fight is your right battle. Sometimes, be a little bit more flexible because if you delight, they’ll come back to you.” We’ve seen that on our side and on the other side for the brand. It gives some trust and room for the creator to create. At the end of the day, if you both are aligned, he wants you to come back, and then he wants the audience also to come back. Giving that opportunity to let him run the show because he’s running a show will give you a better result.

I love those perspectives. I also love the perspective when you compare the lighthouse-type creator versus the creator that is going to enable you to convert. This is a fascinating conversation. I have one last conversation. I’m a little afraid of where that’s going to go. If you think about the live shopping space in the livestream community, there are three different big ideas where you can do live shopping on social media, like TikTok, Facebook, or YouTube. Why not Twitch? I haven’t seen much of that, but why not. YouTube is doing a lot of that. You’ve got the social media aspect. You’ve got people doing on marketplaces so you have Amazon Live and all that.

You have another segment, which is where we fit in, which is on your website. I wonder when you think about that segment of doing the livestream on your website, maybe leveraging some of those other components, what do you think of that? You are very much toward the streaming on Twitch, but would that be for the talent that wants to be a little bit more agile with this audience to drive some of that audience to their website? Is there some benefit there, or is there some benefit in your point of view for a brand to drive that to their website? Do you think this is a bad idea to do on your website or keep it on social? I’d love to hear your thought on that.

I might be partial to say that these ecosystems exist. There are communities that exist on Twitch, on YouTube, and all these different things. There’s a discoverability element that you may miss on a website themselves. Not that mega brands can attract many hits to their website. That’s definitely true. If you’re an end user, I don’t know if it’s as exciting to go to Blue Chip Brand X’s website as opposed to hang out on Twitch or hang out on these other platforms and be a part of the conversation. Not to say it’s not possible, but I don’t know if their audience would migrate.

You’ll definitely get some, but some will be a little bit missed out and you may miss out on some of the discoverability, which is why these platforms do so well. I can go and plug in and watch a streamer on Twitch and I’ll get suggested another streamer. You stumble across this. If my YouTube history is permeated, I watch a lot of guitar stuff and other stuff like that. I found all these creators I have enjoyed and loved. From that discoverability, I didn’t seek them out or hear about them from someone else.

The algorithm did it. An algorithm is a double-edged sword too. It’s very positive and also can be very negative depending on where you are. That’s my personal opinion. It’s better suited to possibly be within these ecosystems and have a coolness factor of being in the conversation to drive them to a site. I haven’t necessarily seen one myself so it’s possible that it could work. That’s my opinion.

TLEP 45 | Viral Nation
Viral Nation: Algorithm is a double-edged sword. It can be very positive or very negative, depending on where you are.

Have you seen some success with people doing simulcasting like streaming on multiple platforms? How do you feel about that whole element?

It’s funny you bring that up because I’m monitoring Ninja very closely. Ninja ended up streaming across all multiple platforms. There’s a little bit of segmentation that happens. His Twitch views look a little bit lower, but he’s also getting views on other platforms that he wouldn’t normally. We’ll see. We’re on day two. I’m monitoring it very closely because I’m very curious. If anyone can do it successfully, it’s going to be him. We’ll have to see, but you can sell certain elements in a different way when you slice and dice it that way. You also run the risk of fracturing your audience a little bit by splintering it across everywhere as opposed to having it in one hub. I have some of my hypotheses, but we’ll see. I would love for you to be successful. That’s what I want to see.

Thank you so much, Damian. This is a phenomenal conversation and one that we haven’t touched on in this depth, especially with someone with a long history in this industry and the talent industry in general. Hearing your thoughts on where we are currently, where we’re headed, and how this integrates with the livestreaming world that’s still so young. It’s going to be neat to see where things go, especially looking back on how this digital world has evolved so much already.

Nicolas, your questions were so great. Thank you, as always, for digging in and exploring this. For the audience, please subscribe because we have more people lined up for you in the coming weeks. Damian, we’re so honored to have you as part of our guests.

Thanks for having me.

I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day, Damian and Nicolas. To the audience, we’ll be back again. Bye for now.


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