The loss of several renowned streamers is finally taking its toll on Twitch, according to a new report by StreamLabs and Newzoo published today. In August 2019, the best streamer Tyler "Ninja" Blevins announced his intention to leave Twitch for Microsoft Mixer. Since then, many others also defected, including competitive player Michael "Shroud" Grzesiek, who went to Mixer in October, Jack "CouRage" Dunlop, who left in November for YouTube Live, and Jeremy "Disguised Toast" Wang, who also He left in November, but went to Facebook Gaming.
The loss of Ninja had not affected the amount of time that Twitch users spent watching content on the platform as of the third quarter of 2019, but the total hours transmitted had been reduced slightly. As of the fourth quarter of 2019, however, Twitch's momentum began to diminish.
While the Amazon-owned streaming site remains by far the leader in terms of hours of content both viewed and broadcast compared to its rivals, the amount of hours seen on Twitch decreased from Q3 to Q4 2019 by 9.8% .
This resulted in the least amount of hours observed on the platform (2299.6M) since the third quarter of 2018 (2283.9M).
That said, Twitch generally continues to grow year after year, with a 12% increase in the hours observed on the platform in 2019 compared to 2018.
High profile losses are now also affecting the hours transmitted on Twitch, according to the report.
The platform in the fourth quarter of 2019 recorded the lowest number of hours transmitted (82.7 million) since the second quarter of 2018 (86 million). Once again, the year-on-year trend continues to rise, with a 16.1% increase in hours aired in 2019 compared to 2018.
Twitch also experienced a decrease in the number of unique channels that were broadcast in the course of 2019, falling from 5.6 million in the first quarter of 2019, the highest in history, to 3.7 million in the fourth quarter.
Concurrent viewers decreased quarterly by 9.4%. This is the lowest average concurrent audience figure since the third quarter of 2018. However, annually, the concurrent audience still increased by 12.3%. The average number of viewers per channel remained stable and increased 12.5% since the first quarter of 2018.
Meanwhile, YouTube Gaming Live became the only platform to see increases in the hours of viewing, streaming and simultaneous hearing in the fourth quarter of 2019.
The change from CourageJD to YouTube Gaming Live has helped boost the Google platform, but the increases can also be attributed to the YouTube broadcast of major esports events and influential moments.
The total number of hours viewed on YouTube Gaming Live grew 46% from the first quarter to the fourth quarter of 2019 to reach 909.1 million, which represents the largest percentage increase among gaming sites. The hours transmitted remained stable, closing the year at 12.3 million. Unique channels increased 4.8% quarterly, but decreased 24.6% since the first quarter of 2019.
The biggest jump from YouTube Gaming Live was in the concurrent viewers, who grew a considerable 33.8% in the fourth quarter, which makes it the only platform to see an increase in the average concurrent audience in the quarter. The average viewers per channel also increased by 21% quarter to quarter, although the number of unique broadcast channels increased by 4.8%, which generally means a drop in the average viewers per channel.
YouTube Gaming Live closed the year with a market share of 22.1%.
The transfer of Ninja to Mixer has encouraged other transmitters to start transmitting on the platform, but despite that agreement and Shroud's agreement, the number of hours observed decreased 8.5% quarter to quarter from 90.2 million in the third quarter of 2019 to 82.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 But year after year, Mixer's observation hours have more than doubled.
Ninja and Shroud have helped increase the number of hours broadcast on Mixer, more than double the number of hours in the third quarter. But in the fourth quarter, the number of hours transmitted decreased 12.9% from 32.6 million to 28.4 million.
However, 80.3 million hours of content were broadcast in 2019 compared to just 35.2 million hours in 2018.
There was also a 7.5% decrease in the number of Mixer channels in the fourth quarter (3.9 million to 3.6 million), but an increase of 78% in 2019 compared to 2018. Mixer now has triple the number of unique channels of streaming, compared to YouTube Gaming Live.
The average concurrent audience at Mixer decreased 8% from the third quarter to the fourth quarter, but increased 55.1% year-over-year. The average viewers per channel remained stable.
The report does not include live streaming data from Facebook Gaming. But it does point out that there was a 400% increase in the number of live streams in 2019, from 504,173 live streams in the first quarter to 2,525,863 in the fourth quarter, according to Facebook Gaming transmitters that used Streamlabs OBS product. In addition, the total number of hours transmitted increased by 275% from 438,835 in the first quarter to 1,648,557 in the fourth quarter.
Also in the fourth quarter, several live transmitters made the switch to Facebook, including Toast in disguise, as noted above, as well as Zero Y Corinna Kopf. This could also have contributed to the momentum in the quarter, as well as the launch of charity live streaming tools and the arrival of the Facebook Gaming application to Thailand and Latin America.
During the year, the most watched editor was Riot Games, due to League of Legends and Teamfight Tactics. Epic Games (Fortnite) only has 25.1 million hours. The latter saw a 29% decrease, year after year, in terms of hours observed, while the former grew only 3.6%.
Similarly, League of Legends was the number 1 game aired on Twitch in 2019, followed by Fornite and then Grand Theft Auto V. Fornite beat YouTube Gaming Live and Mixer.
While none of Twitch's streamer defections have been significant enough to force the platform to leave its number 1 position, it has created a healthier competitive landscape among broadcast services. But in reality, it is still too early to see what long-term impacts the movements on Twitch will have and if their rivals can continue their momentum in 2020.