The COVID-19 pandemic is radically changing what people watch and where, as Twitch’s current most-streamed category will attest. Spoiler: it has nothing to do with video games.
Twitch’s Just Chatting—think YouTube vlogger channels—has been the most-watched category in the second quarter with 498 million hours streamed, a 175 percent upswing year-over-year. Its rise is significant, as the general category beat out popular gaming channels such as Fortnite and League of Legends, according to a report released Thursday by StreamElements, a provider of tools and services for stream productions, and Arsenal.gg, a data analytics company.
“We are starting to see a rise of streaming stars who don’t game at all,” says Sean Horvath, chief revenue officer at StreamElements. “If you don’t understand the appeal of streamers just chatting with their audiences, think of it like any talk show you watch on TV, but the difference is viewers can also make comments directly to the hosts.”
Horvath says the COVID-19 pandemic has played a large role in Just Chatting's growth.
“A year ago, Twitch was averaging around 900 million hours watched a month," says Horvath. "Now, it’s hitting more than 1.5 billion, with that momentum really kicking in when the shelter-in-place mandates were announced earlier this year."