The accelerated growth of online streaming platforms has drastically changed how audiences consume entertainment, with platforms such as Twitch standing out as primary beneficiaries. Notably, Twitch continues to cater to different audiences with diverse content, a factor that has contributed to the platform ranking higher in specific metrics.
In particular, according to data acquired and calculated by Finbold, audiences spent a cumulative 1.34 trillion minutes watching content on Twitch last year. The figure equates to a whopping 2.56 million years. Interestingly, the 2022 figure represents a drop of almost 8% from 2021’s 1.46 trillion minutes. The minutes spent watching content on Twitch also surpassed the 1 trillion mark for the first time in 2020 at 1.11 trillion, or a 69% growth from 2019’s value of 660 billion minutes.
Elsewhere, between January and December 2022, Twitch active streamers dropped by about 17% from 8.56 million to 7.03 million. The active streamers recorded a historical high of 9.89 million in January 2021.
Drivers behind Twitch’s viewership
The high number of hours spent watching Twitch streams points to the growing popularity of streaming as a preferred form of entertainment. This aspect is aided by Twitch’s built-in features that allow streamers to interact with the audience in real-time, creating a sense of community and engagement, an element missing from traditional forms of media.
At the same time, with the gaming sector recording significant growth since the pandemic period, Twitch has capitalized on the trend by finding means of retaining both gamers and audiences. Twitch has become a hub for gamers to showcase their skills and connect with other gamers. In return, the audiences are helping the gamers through monetization, sponsorships, donations, and subscriptions.
Twitch’s ability to attract many viewers can also be attributed to the platform’s recent development to cater to the non-gaming audience. In this case, users not interested in gaming can utilize the platform for additional forms of entertainment, such as talk shows, music performances, and creative content. In general, the diversity in Twitch content has helped attract a broader audience.
It is worth mentioning that Twitch has placed its focus on attracting more users beyond its core audience with targeted campaigns alongside a platform redesign. On top of that, the platform unveiled other features, such as ‘Watch Parties’, as part of growing the community. Additionally, Twitch Studio’s rollout has helped novice streamers set up streams and share their passions.
The data also shows active streamers and viewership hours dropped in 2022 after years of steady growth. The slump can be attributed to several factors, but the effects of the pandemic are likely influencing the metrics significantly. In this line, across 2022, lockdowns were lifted, with most people spending more time outside than being stuck at home.
Twitch and the growing streaming competition
Furthermore, Twitch has still managed to record interest from audiences amid growing competition with different entities venturing into the streaming scene. A notable case is YouTube Gaming, a sub-section of the video-sharing platform. YouTube Gaming also offers features like Twitch, including live-streaming, chat, and monetization. Additionally, YouTube Gaming has the advantage of being part of the larger YouTube ecosystem, which allows it to tap into the platform’s massive audience.
Facebook Gaming has also recorded growth, capitalizing on its general integration with the larger Facebook ecosystem. The platform also offers several features similar to Twitch.
Indeed, with Twitch facing competition, the platform still ranks among the dominant players, and it will need to continue to innovate and adapt to stay ahead of the competition. As the streaming market continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how these platforms compete and how they will shape the future of online entertainment.
To maintain its position as a leading streaming platform, Twitch will need to continue to improve its user experience, provide diverse content, and address any issues related to online harassment and toxicity.
In the meantime, Twitch’s significant number of viewers has not come without controversy. In 2022, the platform was hit with several scandals, such as scams. For instance, the medium was forced to ban all streaming content related to gambling activities. Similarly, the platform came under the spotlight over other forms of content that had the potential to provide an avenue for child predation.
At the same time, Twitch’s criticism has also centered around the entity’s ability to handle online harassment. Notably, the streaming giant has been accused of failing to respond to cases of harassment promptly, with the platform aiming to improve its moderation tools.