When Amazon purchased Twitch for almost one billion dollars in 2014, it reflected the growing popularity of the livestreaming platform as watching other people play video games became a common pastime. But few may have expected Twitch to overtake other media giants.
According to a new report from industry analysis firm SuperData Research, Twitch now has a larger audience than HBO or even Netflix. In 2016, 185 million people tuned in to gaming streams on Twitch, in comparison to HBO’s 130 million viewers and Netflix’s 93 million. The amount of Twitch viewers is expected to grow significantly this year, too, with SuperData estimating that viewership will rise to 212 million.
It should be noted that a substantial part of Twitch’s success is because it does not require a subscription. It is completely free to view streaming content and to sign up for an account on the platform, whereas HBO and Netflix subscriptions may cost a significant amount of money each year. Twitch is a lot more accessible in that regard, which is why it seems to be growing at a rapid pace.
With that said, it’s not as though Twitch isn’t making an awful lot of money. SuperData also estimates that in 2017, the gaming video industry is set to make $3.2 billion USD, and 56% of that revenue can be attributed to Twitch. It’s unclear how much of that is made up of standard donations to streamers or the revenue of programs such as Twitch Prime, which allows Amazon Prime subscribers to get in-game goodies such as free Overwatch loot boxes.
It stands to reason that Twitch’s revenue will increase over the coming months too. After Twitch, the second biggest platform for gaming video content is YouTube, which saw 517 million viewers on gaming videos in 2016 and is expected to reach 563 million this year.
YouTube does have the upper-hand on Twitch because so many people visit the site already to view non-gaming content, and accessing Let’s Plays, game trailers, and commentary is just a click away. However, gaming YouTubers have concerns about their earnings. The platform, which is owned by Google parent company Alphabet, has made some major changes to the way that ad revenue works and the way that videos can be monetized, with some creators choosing to leave the site as a result.
If major players were to leave YouTube then their legions of fans would follow. If those YouTubers were to find a new home in Twitch, for example, then come next year the livestreaming platform could be a lot bigger than even SuperData had predicted.
Source: Dot Esports
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