|Type of site||Streaming video service|
|Launched||June 6, 2011|
|Alexa rank||252 (May 2014[update])|
Twitch.tv is a live streaming video platform focused on e-sports and video gaming. The website was launched in June 2011 by Justin.tv co-founders Justin Kan and Emmett Shear as a subsidiary of Justin.tv focused on gaming-related content. According to internal analytics from 2013, there are over 43 million viewers on Twitch every month, with the average viewer watching an hour and a half a day.
When Justin.tv launched in 2007, the site was divided into several content categories. The gaming category grew especially fast, and became the most popular content on the site. The company then decided to spin off the gaming content as Twitch.TV, inspired by the term twitch gameplay. It launched officially in public beta on June 6, 2011. Since then, Twitch has attracted more than 35 million unique visitors a month. Twitch has about 80 employees, and is headquartered in San Francisco. On May 1, 2012, Twitch won a Webby Award called the "Webby People's Voice Award" in the games-related category.
Twitch has been supported by significant investments of venture capital, including an 8 million USD investment in 2007, an additional 15 million in 2012, and 20 million in 2013. Especially since the shutdown of its direct competitor Own3d.tv in early 2013, Twitch has become the most popular e-sports streaming service by a large margin, leading some to conclude that the website has a "near monopoly on the market". Websites YouTube and Dailymotion have announced moves to host gaming livestreams as well, but have had a much smaller impact so far.
In February 2014, a stream known as Twitch Plays Pokémon, a crowdsourced attempt to play Pokémon Red using a system translating chat commands into game controls, went viral; by February 17, the channel had reached over 6.5 million total views since its introduction five days prior, and was averaging concurrent viewership between 60 to 70 thousand viewers, with at least 10% participating. Vice President of Marketing Matthew DiPietro praised the stream, considering it "one more example of how video games have become a platform for entertainment and creativity that extends WAY beyond the original intent of the game creator. By merging a video game, live video and a participatory experience, the broadcaster has created an entertainment hybrid custom made for the Twitch community. This is a wonderful proof on concept that we hope to see more of in the future."
As of 2014, Twitch is the fourth largest source of Internet traffic during peak times in the United States, behind Netflix, Google, and Apple. Twitch makes up 1.8% of total US Internet traffic during peak periods. Beginning with E3 2014, Twitch was made the official live streaming platform of the Electronic Entertainment Expo.
On 24 July 2014, it was reported by VentureBeat that Google signed a deal to purchase Twitch for approximately $1 billion. As of July 2014, the report – which originated in May 2014 – remains officially unconfirmed.
Content and audience
Twitch is designed to be a platform for real-time coverage of electronic sports. This includes coverage of large esports tournaments, personal streams of individual players, and gaming-related talk shows. A number of channels do live speedrunning. The Twitch homepage currently displays games based on viewership. The typical viewer is predominately male and aged between 18 and 34 years of age. TwitchTV is looking to expand their viewers, including attracting more female gamers. To achieve this, one of the proposed goals is to increase the kind and types of games people come to spectate.
Partners on Twitch sometimes host sessions for charity. By 2013, the website has hosted events which raised over $8 million in donations for charitable causes such as Extra Life.
In 2013, particularly due to increasing viewership, Twitch has had issues with lag, particularly in Europe. Twitch has subsequently added new servers in the region. In order to address these problems, Twitch has also implemented a significant delay on streams, which has been criticized for negatively impacting broadcaster-viewer interaction. Twitch says that the increased latency is an acceptable tradeoff for decreased stutter.
In July 2011, Twitch launched its Partner Program, which has reached 4,000 members. Similar to the Partner Program of other video sites like YouTube, the Partner Program allows popular content producers to share in the ad revenue generated from their streams.
Advertising on the site has been handled by a number of partners. In 2011, Twitch had an exclusive deal with Future US. On April 17, 2012, it was announced that Twitch announced a deal to give CBS Interactive the rights to exclusively sell advertising, promotions and sponsorships for the community. On June 5, 2013, Twitch announced the formation of the Twitch Media Group, a new in-house ad sales team which has taken over CBS Interactive's role of selling advertisements.
Twitch is available as a mobile app on the iOS and Android platforms. Key features include viewing Twitch's streaming content in high definition and in landscape view. It offers a browsing option of the top streamers. Users can browse by game title or featured games. The app also allows users to follow their favorite channels. In the iOS version, there is also an in-app chatting feature which allows viewers to chat with other viewers.
Twitch has been integrated into PC software, including video streaming to Twitch directly from EA's Origin software, Ubisoft's Uplay, games played on modern Nvidia video cards (via the driver's ShadowPlay feature), and games such as Minecraft and Eve Online. Players also have the ability to link their Twitch accounts with accounts on Valve's steam software. In 2013, Twitch released a software development kit to allow any developer to integrate Twitch streaming into their software.
Twitch also supports streaming from some consoles. Twitch has dedicated software for the Xbox 360, Ouya, PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. CEO Emmett Shear has stated a desire to support a wide variety of platforms, stating “Every platform where people watch video, we want to be there.”
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