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Amazon's Twitch.tv streaming service is losing viewers for the first time

3 weeks ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in Tech

Every 24 hours, it seems, a popular streamer moves from the massively popular streaming site Twitch.tv to upstart Mixer. But, so far, the moves haven't damaged Twitch.tv's reputation or viewership.

That is, until now. New data suggests that, for the first time, viewership is on a sustained downtrend at Twitch.tv.

From March 2016 to July 2019, Twitch's viewership was generally a straight line pointed upwards. But August and September showed concurrent dips in viewership.

Let's be clear: Calling Mixer an "upstart" is a relative, because the streaming service is backed by Microsoft ($NASDAQ:MSFT). Meanwhile, Twitch.tv isn't exactly a future underdog, as it was acquired by Amazon ($NASDAQ:AMZN) back in 2016 and has grown, seemingly exponentially, since then, as videogame and "In Real Life" or IRL streaming has become a multi-million-dollar industry.

But an increasingly important migration from Twitch.tv to Mixer is in its nascent. In August, Ninja, who is considered the most-popular game streamer in the world with 14-million followers, moved from Twitch.tv to Mixer, followed by another called Shroud, equating to millions more potential viewers in loss and gain for the two platforms, respectively. And, just in the past 24 hours, Cory "King Gothalion" Michael — who commanded over a million followers on Twitch — made the move to Mixer.

The big talent moves, often compared to major content acquisitions going on at streaming services like Netflix and Disney+, are expected to build an audience for Microsoft's new platform, but little data or evidence has pointed to a loss in audience for Twitch.tv.

While it's premature to say that Twitch.tv's two-month decline is related to Mixer's talent acquisitions, connecting the two events is, at the very least, reasonable.

Over at Microsoft, the company has been busy hiring development, engineering, and marketing talent to assure Mixer's continued ascent within the game-streaming community.

Hiring for positions with the term "Mixer" in job descriptions first appeared last fall and cooled off over the summer. But heading into this year, openings picked up again.

So far, we don't have enough data on Mixer's audience to track its ascent, but we'll keep an eye on it — as well as Twitch's sustainability over time, as we look back to see if this change is a glitch or a long-term trend.

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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