OP Group: Year One

One year ago today, I sat down at breakfast with a few folks in Boston and told them that I was starting a management company for livestreamers. Later in the day, our website launched and we quietly became a real company. I had no idea where the Online Performers Group would head from there. It was exciting.

The work, of course, had begun months before that, as had conversations with our first two clients, CohhCarnage and Ellohime. It was in large part because of their encouragement, feedback and faith that the OP Group now is growing faster than we can hire people. A big thanks to the two of them for their patience and willingness to take a risk on a new idea.

For the first several months, we solidified our processes and began to answer some of the most difficult questions in the business of livestreaming. Bringing on Barry, with his broad understanding of the technology of streaming and Jenn, with her background in data analysis and deep understanding of online communities, has been a tremendous advantage. And a big thanks to Skyla, who has been with us since Day 1!

We’ve still got a long way to go as a team and a company, but the amount we’ve learned – statistically and business-wise – is staggering. As we celebrate our 1-year anniversary at OPG HQ, I wanted to share a few of the lessons we’ve picked up along the way.

Livestreamers want:

Simplicity. For one major launch, where there was no money involved, the company provided a fifteen-page, 12MB PDF outlining what could and couldn’t be streamed on various days. It was so complex that many streamers responded with the same question: “when can we stream this without getting in trouble?”

Achievability. We routinely see deals for unknown or unproven games that require a 15+ hour commitment to the game. That’s a long time, even if the game is good. Streamers don’t want to take deals like this because they’re afraid they can’t live up to the commitment.

Authenticity. Though we have yet to see a promotion for a game explicitly request or require a streamer to be positive about the game, streamers worry that their audiences will view them as sellouts.

Respect. While companies are starting to understand the tremendous impact that success on Twitch represents for their games, they struggle to understand that, within their communities, livestreamers are every bit as famous as any celebrity.

Companies want:

Creativity. Anyone can stream a game or put a sponsor’s logo on their page. What are you going to do to make it memorable? Why is your channel worth providing sponsorship support to, while thousands of others are not?

Flexibility. Sponsored streaming (whether through direct sponsorship or in-kind payment via product keys) is often the tip of the sword for marketing. They want it to start as soon as the game is ready. Of course, games often have hiccups, server issues or bugs in the first few hours or days of a launch. Companies are thrilled to know that you’re able to adjust to these bumps in the road.

Passion. While a lot of streamers could successfully promote a product or a game, companies are looking for people who know their products and have a history with them. They’re nervous that a streamer may tear into their product or game – so someone who has liked previous iterations is more likely to receive it well.

Professionalism. It may sound silly, but answering emails in a timely manner, getting paperwork signed quickly and even sending a follow-up or thank you can mean the world to a publisher who is trying to wrangle fifty streamers all at once.

As we move into year 2 as a company, we’re setting our objectives as a team. We’ve had a great first year – and 2016 is already beating my expectations, in terms of excellent partners we’re working with and amazing new talent that we’re representing. As we continue to grow this year, I hope we can continue educating the industry, preventing the exploitation of talent, multiplying the number of opportunities and helping to define this business more precisely.

It’s an exciting time – and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Are You OP? We’re Hiring!

It’s shaping up to be a busy year at OP Group! Our clients are doing amazing things – and we’ve been fielding inquiries from some amazing partners. As we look ahead, it’s clear that we will need to increase the size of our team to keep up with demand and ensure that our growing roster of clients is as thrilled as they are today!

I’m happy to announce that we’re opening up three new positions at OP Group: Account Manager, Account Coordinator and Production Consultant. The details on the jobs can be found below.

These positions will be based out of our office in San Diego, CA, where the commute to TwitchCon is very, very short. Aside from the clear value of living in America’s Finest City, our full-time employees enjoy paid holidays, paid time off, flexible working hours and health care benefits.

If you feel that you’d be a strong candidate for any of these roles, please follow the instructions on the job description and get in touch!

This entry-to-midlevel position requires excellent communication, organizational and problem solving skills. Serving as one of the key points of contact on our team, the account manager will act as the first touch point for their portfolio of livestreamers, ensuring that they have what they need, understand any sponsorship obligations they have and are generally happy and successful. To apply, submit cover letter, resume, and any supporting materials.  [Read More…]
This entry-level position requires excellent communication, organizational and problem solving skills. The account coordinator will work across the entire team to ensure that projects are properly assigned, that clients’ needs are being quickly addressed and that the OP Group office is properly supplied and functional.  [Read More…]
This entry-to-midlevel position requires a thorough knowledge of online broadcasting, including technical and community-oriented best practices. A successful production consultant will be able to troubleshoot live issues with broadcasts, as well as provide consultative services to improve our clients’ show experiences.  [Read More…]