The Rapid Growth of Online Live Streaming
Right now, millions of people across the world are tuned into online live streams.
16:02 28 April 2020
Streaming services like Twitch, YouTube and Mixer are more popular than ever before, and in this article we will look at some of the current trends in the live streaming industry.
Twitch and YouTube dominate live streaming
Live streaming is one of the fastest-growing entertainment trends in the world. According to a report by StreamElements, viewers watched more than 9,34 billion hours on Twitch in 2019, which is a significant increase from 7,77 billion hours in 2018. Twitch is by far the leading platform for video game live streaming, with YouTube coming in second place with 2,68 billion hours watched last year. Microsoft’s Mixer saw a year over year growth of 149%, most likely because they signed the top-tier streamers Ninja and Shroud, but the service is still relatively small compared to the leading platforms.
Thanks to popular streaming services like Twitch, YouTube and Facebook, live streaming has never been more accessible. Anyone can stream from their phone or PC using free software, and today’s gaming consoles come with built-in streaming functionality. With the press of a button, players can instantly reach an audience of millions of potential viewers. However, building an audience on Twitch is no easy feat - according to the study, almost 75% of all views come from the platform’s top 5,000 channels.
The most streamed games on Twitch
When it comes to what people watch on Twitch, a handful of games and categories dominate the charts. League of Legends was the most watched game in 2019, reclaiming the throne after Fortnite’s incredible success in 2018. Other games on the top 10 list include Counter-Strike Global Offensive, World of Warcraft, Grand Theft Auto V and Dota 2. Surprisingly, “Just Chatting” has become the 3rd largest category on the website, with IRL streamers like HasanAbi and Amouranth often pulling tens of thousands of viewers per stream.
Video games and talk shows aren’t the only popular categories on Twitch and YouTube. In recent years, casino games have become a major category on both platforms. In these streams, gamblers play high-stakes slots and live casino games on online casinos. The “Music & Performing Arts”, “ASMR” and “Food & Drink” categories also have devoted followings, and similar IRL categories are some of the fastest-growing categories on Twitch. However, it does not appear likely that any category will dethrone League of Legends and Fortnite anytime soon.
Live streaming will undoubtedly continue to grow in the coming years. It is estimated that the industry will be worth more than $70 billion in 2021. Amazon bought Twitch for almost $1 billion in 2014, and Google, Microsoft and Facebook are heavily promoting their own streaming platforms. More and more people, especially in the younger generations, are abandoning traditional TV and media in favour of user-generated content on Twitch and YouTube - and this trend will only continue.