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The untold truth of Offline TV

Featuring popular content creators like Scarra (William Li), Pokimane (Imane Anys), LilyPichu (Lily Ki), Michael Reeves, Yvonnie (Yvonne Ng), and Disguised Toast (Jeremy Wang), Offline TV has become one of the most notable collaborative efforts in the YouTube gaming community. Though the names associated with the channel have changed since the group's inception, Offline TV's success has only continued to grow, boasting over 1.5 million subscribers on the group's collective YouTube channel. Though most of the content creators use Twitch, some members of Offline TV primarily use YouTube and even Facebook Gaming.

With the exception of Pokimane, who plans to move out, the Offline TV crew lives together in one large house. This way, everyone can efficiently work with each other to produce video content for the channel. Offline TV's videos mostly offer viewers an opportunity to watch their favorite streamers and creators interact in an entertaining environment. With this in mind, the content is typically geared toward fun activities like games of hide and seek, unboxing videos, Pictionary matches, and other lighthearted games.

But what goes on behind the scenes? How did the brand get started, and what sort of streaming shenanigans has the group been involved in? This is the untold truth of Offline TV.

Offline TV started as a content house for Viners

While the group of Twitch streamers and YouTube personalities have been growing their channels and the Offline TV brand, the current roster is actually the second iteration of a content house created by William "Scarra" Li.

Having come from the world of esports as a League of Legends player for Team Dignitas, Scarra saw an opportunity to gather content creators to collaborate. He wasn't thinking of making a Twitch or YouTube content house. According to an interview with Inven Global, Scarra had a different goal in mind: becoming the next "big Viners" with housemates BasedYoona and Fragnatic. This dream never materialized, but Scarra learned from the experience.

Scarra turned his original idea into something bigger and better. "We failed so hard there that the only way to get better was to double down and try it with this new house with twice as many people," Scarra divulged. "This is how OfflineTV actually happened."

Offline TV was a big financial risk

It turns out creating a content house with high-end computers and video equipment located in the Los Angeles area isn't exactly a cheap endeavor. In fact, the home for Offline TV was explicitly chosen by Scarra due to its amenities. Talking about the house with Inven Global, he explained, "When we were setting this whole thing up, I made sure that we all had individual bedrooms and bathrooms. Which is why it is so expensive." To accomplish this, Scarra's house hunt took him to Beverly Hills.

Even after the channel had been in operation for 12 months, the company struggled to earn back its initial expenses. Scarra described Offline TV as a "money sink." Despite not breaking even within the first year, he was able to look on the bright side. "I was told early in my career that the best thing to do is to invest in myself. Instead of investing in something financial, you should invest in your personal self."

Luckily, Scarra's fortunes took a turn for the better. According to a late 2019 episode of the OfflineTV Podcast, Scarra has been in a much stronger financial situation since Teamfight Tactics took off.

Scarra didn't think Offline TV would last

During a segment in which the Offline TV crew tested their friendships by asking each other personal questions, Scarra was asked if he initially thought Offline TV would last for as long as it had. "I did not know – I had no expectations for Offline TV, length-wise," Scarra responded after a pause. "I thought it would last, like, a couple years. I just wasn't sure how many."

The followup question was also revealing, probing to see if Scarra had ever had a moment where he thought the whole experiment would come to a sudden end. Scarra said, "Yeah, like four different times, like eight different times." While on the topic of Offline TV coming to a close, Scarra continued, saying he worries about the future of the group often, even when the issues they're facing are admittedly minor. "I guess I am a little bit surprised we've lasted this long," he concluded.

Offline TV members have left for a variety of reasons

It's not uncommon for large teams of any kind to experience some amount of turnover. After Offline TV's first season of content, co-founder Chris Chan stepped down from his role as business manager. He was replaced by Edison Park, who later announced in April 2019 that he was leaving the Offline TV crew to focus on his own streaming career. 

Other members left for more logistical reasons. PokeLawls was unable to continue working with the group after failing to obtain a visa. Without one, the Canadian content creator couldn't stay in the U.S. Similarly, original member BasedYoona didn't live with the rest of Offline TV, making it hard for him to be involved in many spur of the moment videos. As a result, Yoona and Offline TV eventually decided to move in separate directions.

Possibly the most contentious departure from the group was that of Albert "SleightlyMusical" Chang, who dated long time Offline TV member LilyPichu. Chang publicly apologized and admitted to cheating on Lily via TwitLonger on Nov. 12, 2019, simultaneously announcing his "indefinite hiatus from content creation to reflect and spend some time alone."

Offline TV hosts a podcast in addition to its main YouTube channel

For a group of people who spend a large portion of their careers sitting in front of a camera, it seems like podcasting would be well within their skill set. So, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the Offline TV members got together to make their own house-wide podcast, culminating in a new YouTube channel where the show is hosted. 

Episodes of Offline TV Podcast usually feature four members of the house speaking on a broad range of topics, including the origins of Offline TV, how much money each content creator makes, or what life is like in the content house. Some episodes get a bit more serious and delve into more advanced topics, such as the business aspects of Twitch and the mental health challenges associated with streaming. Similarly, the crew sometimes takes on hot topics, like a June 2020 episode centered around the Black Lives Matter movement.

Offline TV ran a six-episode Dungeons & Dragons campaign

In March 2019, Offline TV posted the first video in its Dungeons & Dragons series, Offline TV Odyssey. The show included the main house members playing with Offline TV's Creative Director Josh Kim as their Dungeon Master. 16-bit animated sprites accompany the action throughout each video, and there's even an opening animation complete with an original theme song. For their first adventure, the group played through the Lost Mine of Phandelver, a pre-made Dungeons & Dragons adventure module designed for level one characters.

Other than LilyPichu and Disguised Toast, most of the Offline TV crew didn't have much experience with the game before sitting down to record the series. In episode one, part of the group revealed they had previously sat down for an eight hour session of D&D that never released because Fed lost the video footage. This lost campaign was the first and only foray for several Offline TV members into the world of Dungeons & Dragons before this new series.

The series ultimately lasted six episodes before the adventure came to a close. The final episode ended with the message, "Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement on next season!" So, it's not entirely impossible that you'll see more Offline TV Odyssey in the future.

The Offline TV house got searched by police on stream

Though some streamers may surprise their audience with special appearances on their streams, Offline TV hosted a special guest in June 2020 that even Scarra didn't know about beforehand.

Durig his June 18 stream, Scarra was interrupted by a sudden knock on his bedroom door. Following a knock on the door and a brief conversation, Scarra removed his headset and promised he would "be right back." What followed was a few minutes of an empty gaming chair. Much to the surprise of the stream's viewers, after about four minutes, a police officer walked through the room, gun in hand.

Scarra later confirmed the Offline TV house had not been swatted as he originally suspected. He went on to explain that some of their cars had been broken into the night before, and the number of packages on their lawn led a Postmates driver to call the police, thinking that the house may have been robbed. The police came to make sure everyone was safe. Thankfully, the worst thing to come from this incident was Scarra losing his Teamfight Tactics match.

LilyPichu mysteriously lost control of her stream for 13 minutes

During a livestream in early June 2020, LilyPichu's video cut out. Instead of Lily, viewers were treated to a random man watching Avatar: The Last Airbender while playing Sid Meier's Civilization 6 and eating his dinner. It appeared Lily's stream had been hacked, though aside from the initial alleged hacking, the perpetrator did not maliciously violate Twitch's terms of service or otherwise make an attempt to get Lily's account suspended or banned. 

Instead, the man spent his 13 minutes of fame chilling out until Lily wrested back control of her stream. The episode was brought to the attention of fellow Offline TV member Fedmyster, who was streaming at the time. Fed leaped out of his chair to tell Lily about her stream being overtaken. At the end of the ordeal, Lily updated her fans via Twitter, letting them know the situation was resolved, though she remained in the dark over how the man had obtained her stream. She was even able to make light of the situation, adding "dude was just vibing tbh and watching airbender he's got good taste."