Twitch's most popular category has nothing to do with video games
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."
Just Chatting runs unskippable pre-roll ads for most streams. On Wednesday, one top channel with 10,000 concurrent viewers featured popular streamer Kitboga, who was prank-calling scammers overseas. Another streamed live coverage of a Black Lives Matter protest. And a third discussed diet (though multiple sexist comments were left in the chat, raising concern over brand-safety issues).
Horvath adds that Just Chatting’s viewership growth was even more significant because, unlike games which tend to rise and fall based on new updates and content, it managed to grow consistently to the point where it has now been the most-watched category two months in a row “and will most likely be at or near the top in the years to come.”
Twitch, which was recently featured as one of Ad Age's Hottest Brands in 2020, saw more than 5 billion hours watched in the second quarter, a whopping 2,662 percent increase year-over-year, according to StreamElements.
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