Ludwig’s off-brand agency will create content for xQc and other streamers

Ludwig Ahgren knows events. Between a 31-day marathon stream in 2021 that broke Twitch’s all-time subscriber record, and a live game show earlier this year that blasted the doors of YouTube, Ahgren has demonstrated an undeniable talent for mind-blowing spectacle. Since he started streaming full-time in 2019, it has propelled him to new heights every year.

Now Ahgren, 27, is starting a creative agency called Offbrand to share this secret sauce with other creators. This might sound like a plan to chop off the leg he currently has over everyone else, but it’s kind of an idea: Ahgren knows his career as a content creator isn’t built to last. Instead of fearing this inevitability, he embraces it.

“I’ve always accepted that there will come a point when my career will end,” Ahgren told the Washington Post. “When I’m 45 years old, I certainly will be [too] not in touch to have that on twitch or youtube. … Instead of dreading that and trying to keep it going for as long as possible, I love the idea of ​​helping other creators create things that I think are cool.”

Co-founded by Ahgren along with longtime collaborator and manager Nick Allen, content creator Nathan Stanz and former Twitch marketer Brandon Ewing, Offbrand is an agency and studio that will help creators with their own events and series from virtually every angle: Ideas, production and financing. The latter is key because events — even more so than a video game live stream with a top-of-the-line PC and high-end broadcast equipment — are expensive. In July, Ahgren said his popular YouTube game show Mogul Money Live lost him and his team $149,500. With that in mind, Allen explained that Offbrand takes on the task of finding partnerships and sponsorships that make sense for any event or series they help create.

“We do not expect any upfront investment from the developers we work with,” Allen said. “We want to take that on and help them not only create good content, but also not weigh them down with actual work or financial resources.”

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Offbrand has already developed a series for another creator, North American Twitch king Félix “xQc” Lengyel. On September 30th, Lengyel will premiere the fruits of that labor: a six-part live game show called Juiced, which pits teams of two against each other in real-life physical and trivia competitions. It’s inspired by Nickelodeon game shows from the ’90s, right down to the part where losers are doused in green goo – except in this case it’s “juiced,” and the gooey substance in question is created from an enormous replica of Lengyel’s nose.

Lengyel isn’t the kind of streamer you would normally associate with a planned and rehearsed production like this. He’s the kind of creator who prefers to broadcast well over 10 hours a day from his own room, play video games, react to YouTube videos, and, until a recent Twitch crackdown, gamble. But Twitch is a platform where top YouTubers regularly interact, and even though Ahgren made the move to YouTube late last year, he’s still very much embedded in the Twitch community. He knows everyone and he is one of them. That gives offbrand an appeal that other agencies and studios can’t match.

“I think it would be extremely difficult for a different group of people, even with the best show in the world, to go to xQc and say, ‘You should do this,'” said Stanz.

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But Lengyel in particular exemplifies the downside of trying to turn streamers into polished, brand-friendly performers: some are messy. Lengyel has been embroiled in numerous personal strife over the past couple of weeks, which turned into public controversy stemming from his relationship, a get-together of popular streamers he was set to attend earlier this month, and streamers who dubbed each other’s dirty laundry as Responding to calls for gambling aired on the platform is prohibited.

Still, Stanz pointed out that while Hollywood stars close their closets a little tighter on their skeletons, it’s not as if their personal lives don’t flow into their work on a regular basis.

“It’s something that happens a ton in the media, but because [xQc] being a Twitch streamer, it’s something that’s a little more public,” said Stanz. “I think we’re not the first people who have to work with talent that’s going through something, and we’re not the first people who are going to help them — whether through the show or otherwise.”

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For Ahgren, targeting events makes sense at a time when more and more major streamers are realizing that broadcasting 200+ hours a month leads to burnout.

“If you’re live ten hours a day, you’re a zombie afterwards because you’re putting everything you have into that time trying to entertain viewers,” Ahgren said. “It’s far better to spend 80 hours thinking about what you’re going to stream and then stream 80 hours in a month – after a certain viewership – than just stream 160 hours without a plan.”

Even before his greatest successes, Ahgren’s approach was based on planning. Not long after he started streaming, he realized that simply going live on Twitch and waiting for viewers to show up was no longer enough. Instead, he envisioned how concepts — like the aforementioned month-long subscription marathon, or a recurring segment where he let his Twitch chat spend his real money on Amazon — would play out in discrete, well-packaged videos on YouTube. Now that even top Twitch creators like Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and Imane “Pokimane” Anys are becoming increasingly platform agnostic, Ahgren believes this approach makes more sense than ever.

“There are creators who stream everything they do, and if they put in just a few hours a week, they could achieve the greatest thing they do this year, or maybe in their streaming career,” Ahgren said. “Part of the idea is that we don’t just do an event that gets good viewers on the live stream. Let’s do an event that will be viewed on YouTube. Let’s make an event exploding clips on TikTok, Instagram and Twitter. Let’s make more of a piece of culture than just good live streaming numbers.”

“It might not be less stressful,” he added, noting that there’s still anxiety and pressure that goes into planning, scheduling and alignment, “but it will certainly make your career last longer. I think it’s a more sustainable way of streaming.”

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However, that doesn’t mean that this option is available to all creators—or even most of them. Offbrand doesn’t rule out the idea of ​​working with smaller developers, but they do bring their own challenges.

“I’ve been working with a creator for about six months now,” Ahgren said. “He started out averaging about ten viewers and the goal was to see if I could mentor this creator to grow as big as possible. What struck me is that in the early stages it often requires finding your own voice as a creator, which would make creating a show or event difficult [around].”

After Juiced, Offbrand plans to produce and co-produce a few more events for Ahgren, including a “chess boxing” championship in December, which reiterates and parodies the influencer boxing trend that has caught fire in recent years thanks to YouTubers like Jake Paul. After that, the company adjusts the frequency of the events according to the demand of the creators.

As for Ahgren, he doesn’t plan on retiring from streaming entirely just yet, but he knows the time will come.

“When I started streaming, I said I would do it for five years and then I would quit,” Ahgren said. “I’m at the four year mark right now. I don’t think I’ll end after five years, but I do think there’s a point where I’ll move away from being a forward-thinking creator, and offbrand is my way of still being able to to create and make things that I think are cool…still have the same joy of making something that I’m proud of.”

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