Overall viewership on Twitch, both in terms of hours watched and average concurrent viewers, has declined 9.4% year-over-year. Meanwhile, there is growing competition from rival platforms attempting to take their own slice of the pie.
For over a decade, Twitch has been top of the pile for video game livestreams, at least in the west, and it has become a leading destination for non-gaming streams, too, from ‘Just Chatting’ to art, music, and hot tub streams.
Twitch’s popularity peaked in 2021, when many of us were still stuck indoors, and streamers were there to keep us company. A predictable decline followed as the world opened up, but the slow but sure slide continued into 2023.
Twitch drops almost 10% in viewers
Twitch stats tracking website SullyGnome provides a snapshot of Twitch viewership over the long term, starting back in January 2016, when the average viewership for the whole site was 646,000.
Average viewership peaked in April 2021 at 3.1 million. The decline has been steady since, dropping to as low as 2.2 million in December 2022.
A slight bounce back in January, to 2.5 million, is healthy, but still represents a 13% drop from January of last year.
Overall, there has been a 9.4% decline in both average viewership and hours watched in the past 12 months.
Is Twitch dying?
No – these stats don’t show that Twitch is in any kind of catastrophic decline. But it’s clearly not a positive sign. The drop also lines up with a decline in hours streamed, which was 9.8% down – as was the average number of channels streaming.
There are a number of factors that could influence this. One is out Twitch’s control – the popularity of new game releases, and the seemingly decreasing interest in esports titles like League of Legends, Dota2 and CS:GO.
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But the elephant in the room is streamers leaving Twitch to stream on YouTube, Facebook Gaming, or Kick. YouTube has signed a number of Twitch’s biggest stars to exclusive deals, and the new kid on the block, Kick, is offering 95% revenue splits.
Meanwhile, Twitch has been reluctant to fend off competition with exorbitant deals or increased revenue splits. In fact, the platform is instead reducing subscription revenue for those previously on the 70/30 split, making 50/50 the standard. This is also lower than YouTube’s 70/30 split.
In the past 12 months, the number of “active” partnered streamers has dropped 5.4%, to 50,702. Active affiliate streamers have declined by 9.3%, to 2.06 million.
There have been wins for Twitch too, though. The platform hit a new peak viewership record in June at 6.7 million. There has also been positive feedback on improved moderation tools and engagement mechanics like channel points and emotes.
Twitch is also still home to many of the biggest streamers, including xQc, Kai Cenat, Ibai, Auronplay, GrefG, Hasan, Gaules and more.
Unfortunately, data for both YouTube and Kick is not so readily available, but YouTube has undoubtedly increased its market share with big-name signings, and Kick bragged of reaching 1 million users in only 69 days. It was not disclosed if these are logged-in users or just website visitors, however.
2023 will be a testing year for all streaming platforms but particularly for Twitch, which once held an impossibly strong grip on the industry. Will it be able to maintain its spot at the top?