Newspaper article International New York Times

Game Site Adds an Ingredient: Julia Child ; Twitch Streams Episodes of 'The French Chef' to Cultivate Creative Viewers

Newspaper article International New York Times

Game Site Adds an Ingredient: Julia Child ; Twitch Streams Episodes of 'The French Chef' to Cultivate Creative Viewers

Article excerpt

Twitch is streaming all 201 episodes of "The French Chef" over four days after the success of a stream featuring the landscape painter Bob Ross.

Every month, more than 100 million people go to Twitch, a video streaming service known for airing live matches between people playing League of Legends, Counter-Strike and dozens of other games.

An interloper has entered the Twitch fray for a marathon video streaming session: Julia Child, the legendary chef and television personality who died in 2004.

On Tuesday, Twitch began to consecutively stream all 201 episodes of "The French Chef," the groundbreaking cooking show hosted by Mrs. Child, which aired for a decade starting in 1963. The marathon will be spread over four days.

The event is a peculiar mash-up of one of the Internet's leading destinations for gamers and a cultural icon who introduced American television audiences to beef Wellington, crepes Suzette and other dishes. It is part of a budding effort by Twitch, acquired by Amazon in 2014 for nearly $1 billion, to cultivate viewers interested in all forms of creativity, whether sewing, sculpture or cooking, not just those who want to watch virtual orcs getting slain.

The Julia Child marathon, which inaugurated a new food channel on the site, also reflects a relatively recent insight by Twitch into its audience. While many Twitch visitors come to communicate with the people they're watching through chat rooms that accompany the videos, that will obviously not be possible in the case of Mrs. Child. Instead, Twitch is betting that many of its viewers want to chat with each other.

"We always had this idea that it's critical to be able to talk to the broadcaster," said Bill Moorier, head of Twitch Creative. "There are some cases where the community just enjoys interacting with itself while enjoying prerecorded content. That's what we're experimenting more with."

More than 6,000 people tuned in to watch the initial episodes of "The French Chef" on Twitch on Tuesday and the service's chat room immediately filled with a torrent of Internet slang and joke- making. Viewers marveled at the copious amounts of vermouth, red wine and brandy that Mrs. Child used in a French onion soup recipe ("So much alcohol OMG," "Drunk soup").

Early on, one Twitch commenter may have captured the moment best by writing "microwave generation watch cooking show on a gaming stream website."

Twitch decided to double down on recorded videos after the improbable success of a weeklong streaming session featuring the landscape painter Bob Ross. Starting last October, Twitch aired the entire archive of "The Joy of Painting," the show narrated by the honey-voiced Mr. Ross as he completed canvases, more than 400 episodes in all.

About 5.6 million viewers in total watched the marathon over the course of the week, with as many as 183,000 people tuning in at the same time, according to Twitch. …

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