Gaming-centric video web site Twitch ended 2013 with more than 45 million unique monthly viewers who watched, on average, 106 minutes of video a day, according to an end-of-year report from the company.
Those are massive numbers for a privately-owned, two-year-old startup that serves what has historically been considered a niche audience. In contrast, six-year-old Internet video service Hulu –which is backed by Walt Disney, NBCUniversal and 21st Century Fox– attracts just 30 million viewers a month who watch for 50 minutes per day, according to analyst estimates.
San Francisco-based Twitch’s video platform allows users to watch live and recorded streams of video game tournaments, and to stream video of their own games and programs. The site was spun off from “lifestreaming” web site Justin.tv in June 2011, and has raised about $42 million in three investment rounds from companies including Draper Associates, Bessemer Venture Partners and Thrive Capital.
“When video game historians look back on gaming a decade from now, 2013 will be the year they cite as the tipping point of streaming,” Matthew DiPietro, VP of marketing at Twitch, said in a statement. “Every major event, publisher, developer, and media outlet in the gaming industry had a presence on Twitch, and streaming became an ever-present piece of the gaming experience. And it’s only going to get bigger.”
Twitch’s 2013 end-of-year report also revealed that the company now averages over 900,000 unique broadcasters per month, and a recent peak of 10,000 concurrent live broadcasters. Over 5,100 people are members of the company’s partner program, which gives them a cut of ad revenue from their videos.
The company saw particularly strong growth following the November launches of new video game consoles from Sony and Microsoft: Both products currently allow users to watch Twitch streams, Sony’s PlayStation 4 has integrated support for broadcasting, and Microsoft’s Xbox One has those capabilities on the way.
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