If you’re still reeling from shock that people would spend hours watching live streams of other people playing video games on Twitch, well, then you better have a seat.
Across the Internet, sites are popping up that let people watch other people code for hours and hours. Indeed, live streams of coding are gaining enough momentum that there’s even a virtual conference being organized this weekend by some folks via Reddit.
Internet video in general is exploding. But this latest, and seemingly unlikely, phenomenon comes on the heels of Twitch’s big success. The San Francisco-based company proved that there was a massive audience of people who were eager to spend hours each day watching and learning from other people’s game play.
That led Amazon to acquire Twitch for almost $1 billion last year.
While watching someone code might seem only slightly more exciting than watching paint dry for most people, there is a growing number of folks who believe there’s enough interest to start investing time and money in targeting them.
If you’re looking for coding live streams, you can start with the subreddit of /r/WatchPeopleCode. People have been posting notices of their live streams there for a while now. Indeed, that led someone else to build WatchPeopleCode.com, a site that aggregates the Reddit coding live streams.
One of the Redditors is even hosting an online conference in two days that will feature coders talking about live streaming.
Not surprisingly, some of these folks are doing their streaming via Twitch. But there’s enough emerging interest that earlier this year, Coders TV was launched to focus more narrowly on this new niche.
Now comes a second live stream coding site called Livecoding.TV from a small team based in Berlin and London. The site just became available as a beta 10 days ago, according to one of the cofounders, Jamie Green.
Green said that the goal of the site was in part to entertain, but mostly to educate. He said that he and his cofounder, Dr. Michael J. Garbade, had trouble finding resources when they wanted to improve on their basic coding skills.
In addition, he points out that live streaming is a way for programmers to build their reputation and gain their own following.
“We are more an educational product, making learning to code fun,” he said. “We hope that the interactive nature of Livecoding.tv makes learning to code a more engaging, social experience. We see people of all ages and abilities sharing their skills and helping each other out.”
The company has received some small backing from European Pioneers, a Berlin-based accelerator that is a public-private partnership with the European Union. While Green didn’t specify the size of the investment, Pioneers’ website says it typically invests between $52,000 and $264,000 in its companies.
Can coding live streaming produce the next Twitch? Right now, that seems unlikely.
But with a growing hunger for programming resources and education, it certainly seems like it’s not impossible to imagine that there will be some tremendous growth, even if it remains a niche interest.