January 11, 2023

Rebroadcasts to keep streaming channel alive, and audience united, between "seasons" (inspired by Gawr Gura)

This post is mainly a detailed suggestion for Gura, although it could just as well apply to other streamers. In fact, Pokimane just tweeted that she misses the Among Us days -- if that content is archived somewhere, why not simply rebroadcast it on a day when she was otherwise not planning to stream live? Or an episode from any other popular "season" of her streaming career (Fortnite with the kiddos, etc.). And like Gura, Poki went on a long-ish break from streaming this year, to re-charge her batteries.

I'm going to do a big-picture overview in several sections, and then give concrete suggestions to the Goobinator in a final section called "Suggestions for Goob", in case she wants to TL;DR the rest of it in between.

* * *

Because live-streaming is a very young format, it's worth looking to more established and mature formats to solve the problems of the new format. Maybe it won't work, and there's something new that needs to be invented -- but maybe the content creators won't have to re-invent the wheel.

Extended breaks in between delivery of "content" are totally normal in the entertainment sector -- at least a year between albums by a musical group, at least a year between movies by a single director or lead actor or entry in a franchise. Often longer. For TV series, there was half the year when no new episodes came out, since a season lasted 20-some episodes.

Live-streaming for entertainment and culture -- as opposed to being a part of the news / media sector -- is closest to TV, with a daily or at least weekly delivery schedule. Daytime soap operas on TV have new episodes every day, with no hiatus like primetime shows do.

For most streamers, I'd say daytime soap operas are the closest genre to live-streaming -- it's about hanging out with that character, or the rest of the cast of characters, on a close to daily basis, as they go through various twists and turns in the (unscripted) plotlines -- what game they're playing today, with whom, what mood are they in, which ongoing gags and gimmicks are they continuing and which ones are they letting fade away, who are they in a faux bicurious romance with this week, and so on and so forth.

For streams that are more structured ahead of time, and intended to be big events, they're more like a primetime episode, maybe coming out on a weekly schedule, not daily. Some weeks, a streamer can somehow fit 3 big events into one week, but that's unusual. A usual week is several days of soap opera-style streaming, and one or maybe two bigger streams.

Although hiatuses are rare for soap operas, there are still times when one particular actor can't make the filming -- in which case the writers simply don't include them in the script for those days. The production overall keeps chugging along, without them. But streamers don't have a single show on a single channel that they all regularly participate in -- they have their own channels, and their streams are primarily about the one channel owner. So when a streamer goes on break, there is no way to work around their absence, since their channel's streams are all about them.

* * *

In that case, we have to look to the primetime shows for guidance -- and when they went on break, they used to air rebroadcasts (re-runs) during the regular time slot. And even if they didn't do that, they probably had a syndication deal where various channels could show old episodes, typically out of primetime, but close enough if the show was popular.

Back in the '90s, the Simpsons and Seinfeld were shown every day on Fox from 7-8pm, just before primetime, but outside of the daytime doldrums, where less popular old shows were shown.

And though the Simpsons was native to Fox, Seinfeld's weekly new episodes were on NBC, and Fox bought the rights to show their re-runs on a daily schedule. Who knows if one streaming agency would pay for the rights to rebroadcast the streams of a different streaming agency? Gura's content is uniquely popular -- some company other than the one that employs her just might consider paying for the rights to show her stuff outside of her channel. I dunno, and that's not relevant to the big picture here.

The main point is that when there's a break from new content, rebroadcasts are a natural solution.

* * *

Aside from being a logistical fix to a programming problem, what larger function did re-runs serve within the fandom, community, or audience for the show? Far from being a negative, or embarrassing programming choice, they were crucial to a show's long-term survival.

First, they signaled that the show was a hit rather than a flop. Who would want to watch re-runs of a boring show? It was the shows that were in high demand that went into syndication and re-runs. This cemented the show in the canon of great TV, just as rebroadcasting someone's streams would formalize their status in the streaming hall of fame.

Second, they allowed viewers who had not seen the old episodes when originally aired. Maybe they just wanted to sample the show on a random weekday at 5pm, and not block out their schedule to catch the new episode during its specific weekly time slot. Or maybe they already liked what they'd seen of the show, and wanted to enjoy what they'd missed before becoming a fan. If the storylines were serial, they could catch up. If they were standalone episodes, they were effectively new episodes -- it's not an old episode if you haven't already seen it.

Third, for those who had already seen the episode, the repeated viewings burned it into their brains -- that particular episode, the show as a whole, the characters, the theme song, everything about it became memorable. But commitment to memory requires repetition.

And we really did used to watch the same episode of the Simpsons or Seinfeld over and over and over, since their re-runs were shown 5 days a week, or about 250 days a year. A season used to have about 25 episodes, so that would require 10 seasons worth of old episodes in order to not repeat them during a year. But these shows were all under 10 years old, so we saw repeated re-runs just within a year, forget watching re-runs year after year after year, as we used to do.

But far from getting boring and tiresome, this only formed a closer and more familiar bond between the audience and their beloved show, whose dialog they could now recite verbatim, almost like a religious ritual, reading from sacred texts (orally transmitted in the case of TV, and streaming for that matter -- not written down and read with the eyes).

This repetition and commitment to memory also helps to canonize certain characters, episodes, or entire series. Some episodes, or some entire series, you didn't commit to memory because you didn't want to endlessly re-watch their episodes. Only those that were so compelling that you couldn't help but tune in daily to re-runs, achieved canonical status.

* * *

Last, and most crucially, rebroadcasts coordinated the viewing activities of the entire audience together, which could've been in the tens of millions, all around the country. There was no option to "watch on demand" like there is today -- e.g., by going to a streamer's channel, browsing their archive, clicking on a video, and then watching it at your own convenience.

Watching on demand does have the first three traits above, but on-demand allows the audience to be totally disconnected, fragmented, and on different pages.

While Gura is on break, suppose I go through her archive and pick something that looks interesting to me -- most likely, the other viewers doing this will not choose the exact same one that I do. Therefore, it's not a coordinated mass phenomenon, like it was when the streams originally aired -- all of the audience watched the same stream at the same time. (Or after a slight delay, equivalent to programming your VCR to tape a show on TV and watching it later, if you couldn't make it for the live broadcast).

There can be no mass emotional, social, cultural resonance on the same wavelength if this is how the audience is watching old episodes. They cannot be allowed to choose, because they will rarely coincide, and group cohesion is weakened and prevented. I don't just mean the feeling of being part of a unified audience during the broadcast or rebroadcast -- but being part of the talk about the show, the buzz, the water-cooler conversation the next day.

How can a group of people discuss the show together, if they all watched different episodes of it last night? They have to watch the same episode, at roughly the same time (maybe a slight delay), so that they're all coming to the conversation with the same background set of expectations for what's up for discussion.

On-demand leads to cacophony, re-runs to harmony.

The only aspect of streaming that cannot be recreated during a re-run is the interaction between the chat and the streamer. But that's not the main appeal of the stream anyway, so why worry about it?

* * *


As for which streams to rebroadcast, I'd say start with the older ones, to catch newer viewers up on all the winding paths you've taken over your gemini Gypsy journey. They don't have to be strictly 1, 2, 3, in order from the start. Just start with older ones, then work your way up to more recent ones.

I don't know if you should lump all streams from a given game together, as though it were a mini-series on TV. Like Super Metroid, you originally played over the course of months, with various other games in between each S.M. stream. But that would make an interesting coherent week of re-runs -- "Gura plays Super Metroid" week, or "Gura plays Bully" week, "Gura plays DMC" week, etc.

It still feels like some variety would spice up the week's schedule, though. Maybe 3 or 4 from a single game, 2 streams from other games, but from around the same time, mixed in as well. That way if some of the audience doesn't like the main theme for the week, there's still other stuff to watch.

There should be a big stream at least once a week, probably on Fri, Sat, or Sun. Something festive and party-like. The easiest choice is karaoke -- we can't go any longer without your sharky chanteuse-y serenades, seriously! Start with older sessions, and work your way to more recent ones, unless there's a seasonal tie-in (Valentine's Day, etc.).

Or party game collabs that were hosted on your channel, whether Jack Box or even the classic SNOT collabs -- from Phasmophobia to Devour to Propnight to whatever else. I still haven't seen the tabletop game series -- but I would if I would be watching it along with everyone else in the Gura fandom.

If you really want to jam-pack the fun into the weekend, you could do one of the party-game collabs on Fri night, followed by karaoke on Sat night.

If one karaoke session isn't too long, you could rebroadcast two shorter sessions back to back like a double feature (maybe with a brief intermission). If it's a long one, one session will be enough for the whole night.

Speaking of seasonal tie-ins, if you're not going to record or live-stream anything for Valentine's Day this year, you MUST rebroadcast that Gura + Fauna neko maid cafe ASMR from last year. It's iconic! Maybe it'll become an annual programming tradition, like watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas. If you're back to streaming by then, you could of course do two separate streams that day if you have something new -- the new live one, plus a rebroadcast of that instant forever classic.

As for which days and times, ideally not overlapping your fwens. And since they tend to stream in primetime, it might be best to air the Gura re-runs a bit earlier, just like on TV. Not earlier than 3 or 4pm, though. However, Faunya's slot is usually 6-8 or 9, so that's pre-primetime itself. You might have to work out the schedule by asking your friends what days and times they plan to stream for the upcoming week, and work around that on a week by week basis (but again, not daytime or super-late-night).

The big event stuff should always be in primetime, though, especially karaoke.

Normally you should just stream whenever you want, but if it's re-runs, it feels like they should take second priority to the new streams from your friends.

Maybe it'll turn out that the re-runs don't do the huge numbers as the original broadcasts (that was true for TV, too), and they wouldn't eat into your friends' numbers quite so much. If that's the case, you could set a standard time slot, and just go with that every day, to simplify the weekly scheduling.

That means you can put up schedules again -- but without having to plan all that much as when you were prepping for new streams. AAAANNNNDDDD, it means you can recreate a piece of old media in a new format, which I know you love (like the "sponsors' commercial" within your Big Brain Academy game show). Namely, TV Guide! The natural choice to name it would be the alliterative "Gura Guide". Something without the word "schedule," which the audience associates with new live streams.

You don't have to put the word "rebroadcast" in the entries in the Guide. Just send out a single tweet announcing that you'll be doing rebroadcasts until you're back for the next season of the show, and you won't have to specify the term over and over.

You can still find fan-art to include in the Guide, and that would be a great way for you to stay connected to your fan-artists, and for your audience to stay immersed in the broader Gura culture.

Twitter would still be mainly for promoting the day's show -- a quick tweet with the YouTube link, and a colorful, cursed, or cute couple of words to introduce it. This tweet will also help to coordinate the fandom -- even if they don't watch it right away, or a bit later, they know what the convo will be about that day. It'll get them thinking about the same stream that everyone else is thinking about.

I have no idea how chat works on rebroadcasts, but if there's a new chat for viewers to type into, rather than a replay of the original chat, that's another draw -- they can react at the same time to the same content, in the same place, which they can't do if they're all watching vods of different streams. Also the chance for more superchats, for a little passive income during the downtime -- no different from the TV re-runs having commercials and getting paid by those advertisers.

Why, maybe every once in awhile, if you were feeling in the right mood, you could drop into the chat and make occasional remarks, so they'd feel like "OMG she's really here, watching along with us!" Or like a commentary track, reacting to things, explaining the background, etc. Or maybe you don't like to watch yourself again, which is normal. Just saying, if you ever felt in the mood, that's another small way to keep up interaction with the chumbos in a streaming environment, without going into new live streams.

....Whew! Mucho texto for such a simple concept, right? But you, and the streaming format as a whole, are in uncharted waters, so it's worth looking at the big picture and spelling things out more in detail to understand them.

I think the key thing for you to keep in mind is that your continued popularity means there's always a new group of fans who haven't seen your earlier stuff at all. Or only tuned in for a certain game, but not other games. Or like me, mostly watched your karaokes at first, and not so much the video games, which grew on me over time as I fell under the spell of your persona. :)

You've already created so much, and given so much of yourself, it's totally fine to take this break. But this can also be a nice opportunity to catch the newer fans up on all of that classic stuff that they may be totally unaware of. It'll make them all the more bonded to you, and to each other -- knowing that they've all seen the same things, not just randomly picking episodes to watch without any unison among their viewing activity.

Eventually there will be a common canon that they all know like the back of their hand, which would not be possible without repeated viewings, on a single coordinated schedule.

But beware: we're only going to love you harder, be all the more proud of you, and be able to finish your sentences, after we become so familiar with your whole journey. ^_^


  1. Fauna: Return to nature tonight!

    Saplings: As if we ever left... ^_^

  2. Hope the jetlag doesn't keep Faunya from being chatty tonight. Delirious zatsudans can be better than ordinary ones! Hehe.

    One thing I'm curious about is how she felt being in a majority Millennial group with Irys and Reine, and Mumei as the only Zoomer. So far her IRL meet-ups have been with majority Zoomer groups, where she's right at home in her oneesan role.

    But maybe Irys, being a super-duper daddy's girl, didn't feel like a potential challenge to the oneesan role?

    Fauna says she has a competitive streak, which as a Midwestern nice type she keeps under wraps most of the time. But maybe with two other Millennials as potential rivals, it brought it out.

    "There can be only one oneesan to pet and give ASMR to this Zoomer..."

  3. Do daddy's girls have guy-ish hobbies, too? To create a common bonding point with their preferred parent?

    Irys was talking about her keyboard and microphone collecting addiction, comparing it to her dad's collections of tech gadgets. Like daddy, like daughter -- if she's a daddy's girl. Otherwise she doesn't have a tomboy tendency, so her keyboard autism doesn't come from a general guy-ishness in her personality. It's just some things here or there, where she's building a bridge for bonding time with her dad (the Carpenters music, keyboard collecting, maybe her fondness for retro Mega Man games?).

    When my mom (a daddy's girl) was visiting over Christmas, we watched some movies a few times, and when I asked what she wanted to watch, she specifically "no chick flicks". I don't have hardly any myself, and don't care for the genre either.

    I chose Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Santa Clause, and The China Syndrome, before asking what she wanted to watch. Then when she said "no chick flicks," and wanted a spy movie, I went ahead with Day of the Jackal (couldn't find Three Days of the Condor, which she requested). Then asked if she's up for a heist movie too, so I chose The Taking of Pelham 123 (original '70s one, not the shitty 2000s remake).

    Maybe some of that comes from her background growing up in Appalachia, where women aren't the dainty type. But I still think they're into romance or chick flicks somewhat, whereas my mom was emphatic about it. She wanted something that her dad would've been into -- I probably should've chosen some old Westerns, if I'd have made the connection at the time. Fortunately I just got Once Upon a Time in the West and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly on DVD yesterday, whenever she visits next time.

    Gura's watchalong for Jaws (which I'm saving for the weekend) makes me think this too. Slow-paced '70s thriller with a team of guys risking their lives to save the general public, facing off against unseen wild nature -- definitely something where she's thinking, "Man, I wanna watch something *cool* with my dad, not some boring chick flick..."

    Like Irys, she's not a tomboy at all, very girly. But picked up a few guy-ish hobbies or interests to build a bridge for daddy-daughter bonding time. Like her obsession with big fat hairy testosterone-filled characters in video games or pro wrestling -- it's not a romantic or sexual attraction, like "Wow, that guy's just my type, I just can't help feeling all hot and bothered!" It's the excitement from thinking, "Man, dad would *totally* love this video game, we'd have so much fun playing it together!"

    (Sorry to break the sad news to the big fat hairy ojisan chumbos out there...)

    If Gura ever feels like doing another watchalong, make it a James Bond movie -- a classic one. I watched all of them in 2020 during lockdown, and just scored a whole bunch for cheap on DVD at the used media store. Perfect for setting the mood of "super girly girl watches a man's man spy movie, excited to experience the strange exotic world of testosterone, to re-enact her daddy-daughter bonding days." Cuuuute -- and badass, too!

    I'd recommend From Russia with Love, or Thunderball -- maybe leaning toward the latter, since it would touch on Gura's nautical theme. And it has my all-time fave for Bond girls -- Domino (Claudine Auger). Now there's a sea creature that'll really get your fins flippin'...

  4. James Bond making anime memes real, all the way back in 1965:



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