When the pandemic started, like literally the day they shut down New York City. I was supposed to be at Barstool Headquarters meeting Dave Portnoy.
It was the final interview to become “his guy”. A week later, I got an email from Barstool that basically said the interview process was put on hold.
I called Derrik and told him the news. He was optimistic that they would call. I was pretty certain they would not because the pandemic changed their business model dramatically. But they weren’t the only entertainment media company that would change in the wake of Covid-19.
On that same call, Derrik asked what I wanted to do about the shows. Obviously we wouldn’t be able to do them in person anymore. I shrugged and said, “we will find a way”.
Fast forward six months and Thoughts From The Bench has concluded our first official week on Twitch. In that time our numbers have grown rapidly while starting new shows and reimagining old ones. We pushed ourselves to a new plateau.
But it was that plateau six months later that forced us to change again. It became very apparent that our growth was limited on Facebook. Our ability to find new viewers, generate revenue, and increase the quality of our shows would always be capped. We knew a new platform was needed.
We were worried about the ramifications of switching to Twitch. Would the community we’ve spent time to build follow us? Could we retain the growth we earned in the past six months? Should we have switched platforms?
Last night on our flagship show Two Beers Deep’s first official episode on Twitch, I was overwhelmed as our regulars not only made the transition but were rewarded with a quality of stream they had not yet experienced.
This morning I listened back to the show on Spotify and smiled the entire time, listening to Justin Boyd jump right in on a different show, bringing his unique perspective and watching Greg Malek go from analyst to host in the absence of Derrik and of course Derrik’s unique ranking.
However, over the past six months, they aren’t the only engines who have helped push the change.
Austin Moorhead, affectionately referred to as the RankKing, has become such a giant part of our content and has been apart of every new show started since the pandemic. The addition of Justin Luteran has brought a new professional tone that I think we had been missing.
Our cast of characters has grown and strengthened and now as Ryan Vojtash begins his journey into producing I feel like this company is in a place where Derrik and I are ready to take the next step.
A roster of shows and talent that is producing regularly scheduled quality content. A viewership base that is highly engaged in our product. And now on Twitch and Spotify a chance to truly reach a new audience.
So I want to make a promise to you now, our loyal Benchers. We will grow, but only so that you get better content at every turn. We will attempt to generate revenue, but only by doing things that are “us”. We are going to try to find new partners, but only ones we believe in.
I also want to Thank You. Thank you for coming on this journey with us. And thank you for keeping us going.