Should Twitch be worried about YouTube after this live stream report?

Twitch rules the live streaming market. However, YouTube Live has made some gains on Twitch’s live stream numbers recently, potentially pointing to a trend.

According to a new industry report released by StreamElements, YouTube is inching closer to Twitch’s live streaming numbers. YouTube Live started this year with 15 percent of the live streaming market’s viewership. However, as of September 2018, that percentage has grown to about 25 percent.

Twitch is still the undisputed king of live streaming

Don’t take this report the wrong way. There is still a huge gap between Twitch and YouTube’s live viewership counts. Twitch clocks in about 750 million monthly viewers on average. September was actually an above average month for the platform. Twitch received over 813 million hours of watch time in September. Let’s compare this to YouTube. YouTube Live got over 226 million hours in the same period.

So while these gains are worth noting, YouTube isn’t catching up to Twitch just yet. Twitch’s live stream view numbers are more than three times that of YouTube’s numbers. The graph below does a great job at showing a visual representation of how large the gap still is between the two platforms:

Data graphing Twitch and YouTube's live stream hours watched
Data graphing Twitch and YouTube’s live stream hours watched

Should Twitch be worried?

Probably the biggest takeaway from this report is that YouTube live streaming viewership has been growing faster than Twitch’s in the recent months. Twitch’s top 100 channels haven’t grown that much since the beginning of 2018; their numbers are actually down. In January 2018, Twitch users watched about 262 million hours of the top 100 channels. This figure dropped to 254 million in September.

However, Twitch is trying to grow its viewership by expanding its focus outside of live game streaming and it seems to be paying off. Its IRL streaming category (short for “in real life”) is one of Twitch’s most consistently growing categories with 41 million more hours watched in Q3 2018 than in Q1. With this growth, Twitch broke down the IRL category into subcategories like beauty, food & drink and music.

So, the way it looks, Twitch shouldn’t be sweating bullets just yet. We have to see if YouTube continues to grow at a faster rate than Twitch. If YouTube’s growth becomes a stable trend, then Twitch should start to worry. But the gap between YouTube and Twitch remains substantial. Twitch is still king of the live stream market and will probably stay king for the foreseeable future.

Sean Berry
Sean Berry
Sean Berry is Videomaker's managing editor.

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