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Twitch viewing soared 23 percent in March

Livestreaming has thrived during the pandemic, but mainly for one service.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
April 1, 2020
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It won't shock you to hear that livestreaming services are seeing an upswing in viewership due to the COVID-19 pandemic keeping people at home, but now it's clear just what kind of effect the outbreak has had on viewing habits. Streamlabs and Stream Hatchet have determined that watch hours surged 23 percent between February and March, to just over 1.2 billion. Other services saw increased demand as well, but their gains were relatively slight. Microsoft's Mixer saw a 15.9 percent gain, while YouTube's gaming streams saw a 10.7 percent boost. Facebook Gaming saw a modest 3.8 percent increase.

Twitch also saw a 17 percent jump in total hours watched compared to the previous quarter, and a 19.5 percent leap in concurrent viewers. The number of unique channels has jumped 33 percent over that past quarter. And while the total number of hours streamed had been declining throughout 2019, it's now at a record high of 121 million hours. Viewership is going up in part because there are more broadcasters, not just more interest in the channels already present.

This isn't to say rivals are necessarily struggling. Facebook Gaming has seen a surge over the past year, and Mixer enjoys both the second-highest number of hours streamed as well as more broadcasters than Facebook and YouTube combined. It's nonetheless evident that Twitch is benefiting the most from the sudden shift in behavior. It may just be a question of what happens when life returns to (relative) normal.

Livestreaming service hours watched Q1 2020

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