By Evan DeSimone
A recent study from gaming and interactive entertainment research group SuperData finds that while YouTube still leads on views, gaming-focused Twitch is outpacing the video giant when it comes to earning revenue for its creators.
SuperData estimates the size of the online gaming content market to be roughly $3.8 billion spread across more than 486 million global viewers across an array of content, including live streams and let’s play walk-throughs and game trailers. In United States alone, the audience for gaming content increased from 86 million viewers in 2013 to an estimated 125 million viewers in 2015. In spite of boasting dramatically less traffic than YouTube (14 million monthly visitors according to Quantcast versus YouTubes 180 million), Twitch manages to generate significantly more revenue from gaming content than YouTube.
The study finds hat while the majority of those viewers are still turning to YouTube for new original gaming content, Twitch’s highly-focused audience produces greater value. With 43% of the total revenue generated by the gaming content space, the Amazon-owned streaming platform has the single largest segment of the market. YouTube captures a still-respectable 36%, with the balance going Esports streaming platforms like Major League Gaming and the an emerging field of esports gambling concerns like Unikrn.
Key to Twitch’s revenue dominance is the dedicated nature of its audience. While YouTube offers gaming content to an audience of mainstream viewers, Twitch’s live streams have attracted a more committed crowd of hardcore gamers and esports fans. Twitch also provides its creators with a wider range of tools for monetizing their content, such as the ability to solicit and receive donations from viewers, which has proven a game changer for Twitch streamers, according to SuperData, allowing them to take in more revenue with their videos than their YouTube counterparts.
The revenue gap explains YouTube’s latest competitive push into the game streaming space. The video giant unveiled its new Twitch-like gamer hub YouTube Gaming less than a year after a failed bid to acquire Twitch. That union was derailed by an eleventh-hour offer from Amazon that saw the e-commerce juggernaut acquire Twitch for just shy of $1 billion. With gaming audiences on track to spend $890 million in subscriptions and donations this year and advertising and sponsorship revenue set to top $2.9 billion, that hefty price tag may have been worth it for Amazon to dominate the rapidly expanding vertical.