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How Big is Twitch?

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To get a better idea of just how big Twitch is we should take a quick look at how it started. Originally started as Justin.tv by Justin Kan and Emmett Shear in 2007, Twitch.tv came about in 2011 as a spin-off from Justin.tv. The creation of Twitch was to focus on video game content, which had become the most popular content on the site. A few years later in 2014 Amazon paid just under a billion dollars to acquire Twitch, having Emmett Shear remaining as CEO. For a more detailed synopsis of Twitch’s history, you can check out our article Twitch History.

Today Twitch is the global leader in live streaming content, with an estimated 90% market share for content streamed and over 30 million unique viewers daily. Having offices and employees all around the world Twitch has become a giant in the online space.

Having branched off from purely gaming content some years ago; the “Just Chatting” section is the most-watched category on Twitch. Covering anything from talk shows, podcasts, reaction channels, live music, and more. Even attracting well-known celebrities/personalities who actively stream on the site, bringing a level of interaction to fans never seen before.

Year Total Revenue
2021
2020$2.3 Billion
2019$1.5 Billion
2018$0.9 Billion
2017$0.4 Billion
2016$0.1 Billion

Over the ten years since its creation, the site and its user base have only continued to grow every year. With over 18 billion hours watched and an estimated annual revenue of $2.3 Billion in 2020 alone.

How Many Streamers Are on Twitch?

Being the largest live streaming platform in the world coupled with the popularity and success of popular streamers reaching the mainstream in recent years has naturally increased the number of people who want to try to stream as a career. Bringing the number of active Twitch channels to an average of 8.7 million in 2021 (Twitch streamers who have streamed at least once a month). The number of twitch streamers almost doubled from 3.6 million to 6.9 million between 2019 and 2020.

Despite the growth Twitch has seen with so many new channels streaming, the number of Partnered streamers (Partnered streamers are able to earn money through the site via subscriptions from viewers) has stayed almost the same over the last year, sitting at 51,000 partnered streamers.

Year Active Channels
20219 Million
20206.9 Million
20193.6 Million
20183.3 Million
20172 Million
20161.8 Million
20151.7 Million
20141.5 Million
20130.9 Million
20120.3 Million

Can People Be Successful Streamers?

Yes, you can still be a successful Twitch streamer even with the platform continuing to get larger every year. The reality, however, is it is far more difficult to get started and be successful now. Streamers on Twitch who are looking to work towards having a successful career require a lot more work to get their foot in the door when starting fresh.

There was a large growth of streamers over the past couple of years but the number of Twitch Partners remained the same. This shows how difficult it can be to get a new streaming career off the ground. Luckily there are ways to help yourself out even with the site being so large. If you are looking for pointers on how to be more successful when starting streaming you can check out our YouTube channel which offers a lot of actionable tips that can help when starting out your Twitch channel.

How Many Viewers Watch Twitch?

As of writing this Twitch has an average concurrent viewership of 2.8 million concurrent, with the record of most concurrent Twitch viewers being 6.57 million on January 10, 2021. Compare this to YouTube Gaming whose average number of concurrent viewers is 600 thousand and you get an idea of just how large Twitch viewership really is. With a month still left to go the total hours watched has already exceeded 2020’s 18.6 billion hours, hitting over 22 billion hours watched.

YearConcurrent Viewers
20212.84 Million
20202.12 Million
20191.26 Million
20181 Million
2017.074 Million
20160.6 Million
20150.53 Million
20140.35 Million
20130.2 Million
20120.1 Million

What is the Average Amount of Viewers Per Channel?

Even with the large increase of both concurrent viewers and streamers on Twitch over the past year, the average viewers per channel remained almost the same. At the time of this writing, the average number of viewers per channel is 26. This may seem like a strange measurement when the most popular twitch channels often average tens of thousands of viewers while the large majority of streamers are under even the current 26 viewer average. But keep in mind the larger than average viewer count is the larger the pool for smaller streamers to hopefully get eyes on them.

Video x Streamers

How Many Employees Work at Twitch?

According to Twitch’s LinkedIn, the company employs over 14,000 people worldwide. Twitch has offices all around the world; local teams are set up to work with Partnered streamers and specialize in the custom needs of each region.

How Has Twitch Influenced Other Industries?

Though Twitch was started to focus on video game streaming the site has evolved into much more than that. The “Just Chatting” section being the largest category has helped make the site inviting to those who would like to stream and build communities who don’t play video games.

How Has Twitch Affected the Gaming Community?

Twitch’s presence in the gaming community has been gigantic, to say the least. The site offers a way for users to instantly access and interact with communities for any game they want. Allowing users to find an audience that is interested in the same games that they are with great ease.

This can most easily be seen with the massive audience that is drawn to large gaming tournaments. The grand finals of Dota 2 and League of Legends tournaments reached hundreds of thousands of concurrent viewers.

Outside of these large tournaments which can thrive due to the large number of viewers they can attract; Twitch also gives smaller games and their communities a way to interact and organize content around the games they love. Allowing for the resurgence of older games or even games that previously had little to no audience until a streamer showed the game.

A great example of this is the “Among Us” craze that happened in 2020, a game that had been released two years earlier but became a hugely streamed game in 2020 when large streamers started live-streaming the game with friends.

Conclusion

Though there is competition with YouTube Gaming and Facebook gaming continuing to grow, looking at Twitch viewership the gap between the platforms is still quite large. If the billions of hours watched and revenue that Twitch brings in each year continues to grow it seems Twitch won’t be slowing down anytime soon. The standout is what the Twitch community has done for gaming and online communities the world round, giving many Twitch streamers the ability to make a living streaming what they love and building online communities of their own.

*Stats from TwitchTracker, Socialblade and Statista.

About the Author

Marcus

Marcus is a Systems Engineer from The Bahamas with a love for gaming and writing. He is passionate about using his experience to help others get the most out of the technology they use.

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