The coronavirus pandemic continues to fuel the live streaming audience to new levels, with platforms like Twitch emerging as one the biggest beneficiaries.
Data presented by Finbold indicates that video game live streaming service Twitch attained a record milestone of 3.03 million viewers in April 2021 based on a monthly seven-day average. The viewership figures have grown by 22.17% between April 2020 and April 2021 to reflect the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the Twitch viewership surge.
Consequently, the number of Twitch streamers has also been on the rise over the last year despite periodic dips. As of April 2021, Twitch streamers stood at 121,808 on a seven-day monthly average. The number represents a growth of 29.92% from a year ago. The platform recorded the highest streamers in February 2021 at 122,623.
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How pandemic fuelled Twitch viewership growth
The record growth in Twitch viewers compliments the fact that most people have turned to digital platforms for entertainment in the ongoing health crisis. Most people turned to video gaming platforms for entertainment. The reliance on digital entertainment pushed Twitch viewers to new heights. With most authorities still imposing lockdown and stay-at-home orders, many people still seek solace from digital platforms, and Twitch might benefit further.
Although game streaming remains at the heart of Twitch operations, the surge in viewership also stems from non-gaming streams that have grown in popularity over the last year. The platform hosted some live events that were canceled. Musicians and other entertainers turned to Twitch to keep in touch with fans.
Amid the growing Twitch viewership, projections indicated that the numbers might slow down as the world returns to normalcy with the coronavirus vaccines’ rollout, especially in the U.S. However, the viewership does not reflect the ongoing vaccination, an indicator that Twitch is making inroads to retain users on the platform. It will be interesting to monitor the real viewership numbers once the rest of the world comes out of lockdown.
Twitch facing competition from YouTube and Facebook
Notably, Twitch maintained an upwards growth in both viewers and streamers despite increasing competition from other established social platforms like Facebook Gaming and YouTube. The two social media sites already boost high audience reach.
Elsewhere the number of Twitch streamers also grew over the period. However, despite the platform appealing to streamers with incentives, the numbers have fluctuated. The changes in streamers can partly be attributed to other sites like YouTube, which has actively been growing its gaming section. The platform has rolled out the incentive to attract young and millennial streamers who want to earn extra revenue.
Furthermore, Twitch has also been hit with controversy, especially from the copyright front. For instance, at some point, streamers were hit by several Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notifications. In some cases, Twitch responded by pulling down the flagged content. This partly explains the fluctuation in Twitch streamers over the past year.
Although Twitch continues to record surge inactivity, the challenge now lies in retaining impressive numbers. Most importantly, the platform’s post-coronavirus pandemic will be instrumental.