For those who like watching other people play video games, it's time to get excited. Four cast members from the HBO series “Silicon Valley” will be swinging by Twitch on April 8 to plug the second season of the Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated comedy by playing games together.
Thomas Middleditch, Kumail Nanjiani, Martin Starr and Zach Woods will sit down for a session of gaming and a Q&A with Jon Carnage, Twitch’s director of live programming. Middleditch et al. will tease the new season with an exclusive clip, and following the Q&A Twitch will also air the 2014 “Silicon Valley” pilot, the first time a show has aired on the platform since it first came online in 2011.
“There is an authentic connection between Silicon Valley and the Twitch audience,” HBO Vice President of Digital and Social Media Sabrina Caluori said in a statement. “This unique event is a great way to build upon that.”
Caluori and her colleagues have been busy identifying and exploiting those potential connections. HBO has spent the spring aggressively promoting the second season of "Silicon Valley." The network spent a sizable portion of the show's marketing budget in Texas at South By Southwest, not just on print and outdoor ads but also on a “launch party” for Pied Piper, the fictional startup run by the show’s characters.
In form and in function, SXSW represented a good fit for a show that lampoons tech and startup culture. But while SXSW has been saturated with marketing activations for years, Twitch has proved a tougher nut for marketers to crack. Though it has a massive and highly-engaged audience that streams billions of hours of content every month, marketers from outside the video game community have been cautious about using Twitch as an advertising platform.
In this particular instance, though, HBO may be well positioned. Middleditch, the show’s star, already has his own Twitch account, Nanjiani plays video games for three hours every day, and Starr has been playing for years as well. Woods, who describes himself as “inexperienced but supportive,” will likely spend most of the gaming session getting pwned.
The second season of “Silicon Valley” premieres Sunday, April 12, after the season premiere of “Game of Thrones.”