Twitch.tv grows non-gaming streaming audience, threatening YouTube and Facebook Live
Although Amazon ($NASDAQ:AMZN) has its own "traditional" TV streaming service in Prime Video, it owns and operates another massively popular platform for streaming live content: Twitch.tv.
Twitch may have begun as a video game streaming platform, but it's become much more than that. It's also now the host website for live podcasts, DJ sets, workouts, and more. In December 2016, Twitch expanded to allow non-gaming streams — mostly vlogs — on Twitch. And while the roll-out and subsequent support had its fair share of misteps and controversies, live, non-gaming content has helped Twitch give it a leg up against its live-content rival Google's YouTube ($NASDAQ:GOOG).
But make no mistake: Live streaming is a massive, growing field that is destined to pick up millions more eyeballs and billions more sponsorship dollars, gaming or not.
So we took a look at the top streamers on Twitch who aren't streaming video game content.
Here are the top-10 non-gaming (that includes "in real life" games like Chess) or gaming-related categories (i.e. award shows) by the sum of average daily concurrent viewership, along with a quick explainer for each category:
|Category||Explanation||Concurrent Viewer Sum (Every Hour of 2018)||Overall Rank|
|IRL||Anything goes (within the T&C)||343,108,736||7|
|Just Chatting||People on stream talking to a camera||140,972,972||11|
|Talk Shows & Podcasts||Self-explanatory, combining 2 categories||61,581,813||20|
|Music & Performance||Self-explanatory, combining 2 categories||55,845,379||22|
|Always On||24/7 streams of popular content, such as Pokemon, Dr. Who, and Bob Ross||38,256,444||32|
|Creative||Anything goes (art, etc.)||36,645,286||34|
|ASMR||People talking really quietly into a microphone||8,091,998||114|
|Food & Drink||Self-explanatory||3,791,927||173|
|Science & Technology||Self-explanatory||2,263,949||256|
IRL and Creative — two catch-all categories that were broken down into individual parts in September — were both top-40 categories on the platform in 2018. In 2017, those categories had 229 million concurrent viewers combined by way of average daily viewer count. In 2018, the IRL category alone crushed that viewership number by over 100 million concurrent viewers, and that was before IRL split up. In other words, IRL streams had 100 million more concurrent viewers in the first nine months of 2018 than IRL and Creative streams did in 2017.
Following the divide, a new catch-all category called "Just Chatting" rose just below the top-10 most popular streaming categories on the platform. While some of these streams may involve a bit of gaming, these streams mostly involve people sitting in front of cameras and "acting natural," or in other words, a highly personal reality TV show at its peak and a person just talking to the internet at minimum.
For 2018, more than half of the top-10 non-gaming categories on Twitch were within the top-50 most-watched categories on the platform. Excluding the "Always On" channel, which relies on licensed content playing on loop, half of the top-50 most-watched types of streams are ones with original and personal content.
Essentially, Amazon has found a way to effectively fill the trifecta of internet content: traditional shows, sports/gaming, and now, original, potentially viral content. And, if it figures out the optimal way to moderate these channels, it could spell even more trouble for YouTube as Google's video platform continues its struggle to maintain its own rules and establish fair policy restrictions.