Live-streams of video game tournaments and other game-related programming are the hottest form of entertainment on the web –so hot that gaming-centric video web site Twitch is taking over the platform that gave birth to it less than three years ago.
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San Francisco-based Twitch’s 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. In January, the company said it ended 2013 with more than 45 million unique monthly viewers who watched, on average, 106 minutes of video a day.
Based on that success, the company announced today that Twitch Interactive, Inc. will replace Justin.tv, Inc. as the company’s corporate umbrella name. Justin.tv will still remain as a mature product of Twitch Interactive. The company also revealed that it has reached a milestone of more than one million monthly active broadcasters, and a running average of 13 billion minutes watched per month.
“As Twitch has continued to grow as the leader of the video game streaming space, it has eclipsed our previous initiatives. Given our total focus on serving the gaming community it makes sense to reposition it as our primary brand,” Emmett Shear, CEO and Founder of Twitch, said in a statement. “Seven years ago, Justin.tv pioneered live video on the Web, and while I remain proud of all the work we did under that name, I’m even more excited about our new future as Twitch.”
Last week, research firm Deep Field released data showing that Twitch drove 1.8% of peak internet traffic in the U.S. for the week ending February 3 –a massive number that places the site fourth overall behind Netflix, Google and Apple, and just ahead of Hulu, Facebook, Valve and Amazon.
For more on the explosive success of Twitch, see my story from the December 2, 2013 issue of Forbes Magazine, The ESPN Of Video Games.
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