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Has Twitch Got A Monopoly On The Streaming World?

Firstly, what is Twitch?

Twitch was originally known as “Justin.TV’ which was founded in 2006 by Justin Kan.  Twitch was originally founded for anyone who had the desire to broadcast themselves live.  It was very revolutionary for its time.  Originally the website catered for a wide variety of content creators; however, the gaming section was the most popular and it developed the fastest. So, it was inevitable that the gaming section was separated into its own platform (in 2011), called Twitch – which we all know and love today.

Twitch saw steady success, and in 2014, both Google and Amazon were interested in acquiring the company, and ultimately Amazon came out on top, paying $970 Million. Ever since the company has grown in popularity and revenue, achieving over $2.3 Billion in 2020, of which $750 Million is in advertising. Looking at the actual use of the service, in 2022 there are currently 140 million monthly unique users, and over 9 million monthly active streamers. This equated to an average of 1.86 billion hours per month of video views – whoever could have expected this back in 2006?

Now, would other streaming platforms such as Mixer (founded in 2016) be able to challenge the goliath that Twitch has become? In the autumn of 2019, Mixer erupted onto the scene after being acquired by Microsoft. It immediately signed ‘Ninja’ and ‘Shroud’, two of the biggest streamers on Twitch’s platform, for an undisclosed sum of money, to stream exclusively on their platform. Did Twitch have a new rival? Mixer’s glory was short-lived, and its operation was closed by Microsoft on July 22nd 2020 after less than a year of operation, with its users redirected to Facebook Gaming. This sparked the debate, can anyone rival Twitch’s monopoly?

Two potential challengers are both from the digital sector, and both have familiar brand names – YouTube Gaming and Facebook Gaming. They have attempted to attract viewers away from Twitch by signing up a huge number of known streamers to their platforms. So how do these two ‘Davids’ compare to Twitch right now? While the data varies by source, the picture is overwhelmingly clear – measured on total hours watched, Twitch is circa 70%, with both YouTube Gaming and Facebook Gaming sharing the rest of the market more or less equally, 15% each. Interestingly, however, it appears that Facebook Gaming has recently overtaken YouTube Gaming to become the no.2 most popular platform*.

The problem facing the challengers is how to attract more users onto their platforms, faced with such a dominant incumbent. The issue is well explored in economics when there is a significant ‘network’ effect at play. Streamers want to be on Twitch because that is where the largest audience is, and audiences want to be on Twitch because that is where the streamers are. Clearly, offering more to streamers to be on your platform is one strategy, but that means you need to have deep pockets and be willing to invest. Microsoft seemed to let go after dipping its toes. Do they really know how to play catch-up?

So, trying to lure users onto your platform is clearly a risky and expensive business! With this in mind, one clear opportunity is to attract new users to your platform who have not yet signed up to ANY streaming platform. How to do this? Promotion of your platform across other social media platforms will provide you with opportunities to engage with new audiences. That, combined with content that will keep them engaged once there, will make these new users stick to your platform.

We at eSportskred provide this very solution for any brand or esports organisation wishing to connect to large audiences, whether on social media or streaming platforms. Our technology provides detailed data of any user’s audience on social and streaming channels enabling targeted marketing campaigns. Additionally, our technology provides valuations of social media and streaming channels, and all the tools you need to run campaigns, together with post-campaign analytics to make sure you are reaching more right audiences cost-effectively.

*Source: https://blog.streamlabs.com/streamlabs-and-stream-hatchet-q3-2021-live-streaming-industry-report-8b6ceb6a9c32

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