How did Twitch Defeat other Streaming Services?
As a live video streaming service, Twitch has proved its worth to the gaming community ever since its rebranding back in 2014. It didn’t take long for internet retail giant, Amazon, to put down almost $1bn for an acquisition, where they expanded the sites’ content into cooking, crafts, and even live sports.
In the first quarter of 2020 (January - March), Twitch surpassed three billion hours watched. To put things into perspective, it totaled 65% of worldwide streaming hours watched, defeating Youtube Gaming, Facebook Gaming, and Microsoft’s Mixer platform.
According to a report released by Twitch, the streaming service has a total of 15 million daily users in which each user spends an average of 95 minutes per day watching their favorite streamers. If we do a little math, 15,000,000 x 95 is the equivalent of 1.425 billion minutes watched per day...it’s insane.
While parts of the world were locked inside their household due to the Coronavirus, Twitch’s hours watched grew 50% within the first four weeks of social distancing. As concerts and festivals slowly announced their cancelation across the globe, artists started offering at-home performances to their fans by streaming on Twitch.
In the meantime, Instagram Live also became one of the more popular streaming platforms for artists to connect with their fans. Most of you probably remember Tory Lanez’s Quarantine Radio, which attracted around 400,000 viewers per stream.
The downside to Instagram Live is its lack of ability for artists to customize a unique experience to the viewers. Participants have to manually log back onto the stream once it maxes out at one hour, making it more difficult for artists to keep a fixed viewership. The same applies to Facebook Gaming as well, similar to Instagram Live, they leave little to no room for users to create a unique experience.
In contrast, Twitch users can interact with their favorite streamers by subscribing to their content. There are 3 tiers in total, with prices ranging from $4.99, $9.99, and $24.99. Depending on the package you purchase, this monthly purchase grants you custom emotes, ad-free interface, subscribers-only chat, and badges. Viewers could also purchase “Bits”, a virtual currency system on Twitch that allows them to show support for streamers.
To compete with others, Twitch also partnered up with SoundCloud and Bandsintown, a music platform that works with over 530,000 artists, to bypass normal qualifications required to become a Twitch Affiliate and allow faster access to its streaming platform. Out of all current artist & music-focused streaming services, Twitch certainly has the most robust platform to enable artists to monetize their content digitally, which has become increasingly important as live events still have no return date.
Earlier this week, Microsoft announced its cancelation of Mixer, a streaming service planned to compete with Twitch by offering exclusive contracts to top streamers. Mixer has decided to partner up with Facebook Gaming, but will not remain as an independent streaming service anymore. The news comes as a shock to the industry, leaving top streamers such as Ninja and Shroud contractless and raised speculations for their next career step.
Just last night, popular gaming streamer “Dr. Disrespect” was banned from Twitch for undisclosed reasons, according to Rod “Slasher” Breslau. It’s still too soon to tell whether the ban is permanent or temporary, but I do hope Twitch releases their reasoning soon.
In light of recent social movements, multiple sexual allegations were filed against well-known streamers and Twitch Affiliates. Earlier this week, Twitch CEO Emmett Shear released a statement saying “streamers may be banned, have their partnerships revoked, and miss out on promotional opportunities as a result of these investigations.”
Twitch has shown impressive growth this past year, with a 98% increase in streaming hours watched in April 2020. While more victims are making their stand, this is an important time for Twitch to take control of their platform if they would like to continue this upward trend.
With user-friendly interfaces and creative customization capabilities, Twitch has defeated other competing streaming services by offering monetization lifetime subscriptions to streamer pages in order to upkeep user/streamer engagement. Though I hate to make outrageous predictions, I believe their streaming services would continue to serve the gaming and music industry for years to come.