Why Twitch needs to start fighting to keep its streamers

Zackerie Fairfax. Last updated: Nov 30, 2021
twitch stats decline ludwig

Twitch may be one of the largest live streaming platforms, but the loss of some of its top streamers is having a negative impact. 

Since its conception in 2011, Twitch has seen exponential growth each year. In just the past five years, Twitch’s average concurrent viewers have skyrocketed from a few hundred thousand to in the millions. And the platform is host to an ever-expanding variety of live content you can’t find anywhere else.

However, the larger it gets the more it finds itself in the crosshairs of the public’s opinion. Over the course of 2020 and 2021, Twitch has been at the center of a lot of controversial news. From mysteriously banning its top streamers like Dr Disrespect to establishing what could be considered dangerous DMCA policies, Twitch has proven it isn’t perfect.

Some would say Twitch has grown too big to fail, too.

While that might be true, Twitch is currently experiencing a gradual decline in concurrent streamers and viewers. Various factors likely play into why it’s hemorrhaging users, but a blatant issue is the platform’s inability to keep its top streamers.

Twitch’s Top streamers are heading to YouTube

timthetatman ludwig and dr lupo

If you’ve been living under a rock, you may not be aware that some of Twitch’s top streamers have left the platform to stream on YouTube.

These streamers include TimTheTatman, DrLupo, and now Twitch’s #1 most subscribed streamer Ludwig. And these departures from the platform have been accompanied by highly produced promo videos and a pat on the back from Twitch.

Ludwig recently revealed that YouTube did offer more money upfront, and that’s no surprise since YouTube is the second most visited site on the internet behind Google. Yet, Ludwig claims the money was ultimately not the reason he decided to go with YouTube. Instead, it was Twitch’s lack of urgency to keep the streamer on their platform.

In a recent video titled ‘Why I Left Twitch’, Ludwig stated, “I went to the guys at YouTube and I said ‘look… I’m going with Twitch.’ And they fought for me. And I realized in that moment that, even though I’ve been with Twitch for 3+ years, even though people call me the ‘golden boy’ of Twitch, I’ve never felt like the golden boy of Twitch. I never felt particularly loved by Twitch.”

Ludwig further revealed that when he broke the news to Twitch, they simply replied: “We wish you the best.”

Twitch’s decline following top streamers’ exodus

Before diving into statistics, it’s important to state that Twitch is not failing. If it were, the platform would be floundering to keep its most reputable streamers. The platform is being heartily supported by brand-risk streamers such as xQc and Amouranth, and there are plenty of other big names that have committed to sticking with Twitch.

That being said, the statistics over at Twitchtracker.com show a clear decline in viewers and concurrent streamers. Twitch’s average concurrent viewers per month have fluctuated over the past four months. However, November of 2021 has had the lowest number of concurrent viewers this year, as well as the lowest amount of time watched.

It makes sense that if a few of the largest streamers leave the platform, you would expect to see a decline in viewers as they take fans with them. Although Twitch’s top streamers started to level in September, we haven’t noticed a massive difference in average viewers. What’s shocking is the steep decline in the average number of concurrent channels and active streamers.

Since TimTheTatman and DrLupo left in September, the average number of concurrent live channels has declined from 100k to 90k. That’s 10,000 fewer streamers using Twitch on a daily basis. And when looking at the total number of active streamers, Twitch has seen a decrease in nearly 1 million users in the span of three months.

twitch statistics 2021
Various Twitch statistics from April to November 2021 – Twitchtracker.com

The chart above shows various statistics from the past eight months.

When comparing April to November, you can clearly see Twitch’s decline. However, these raw numbers are hard to judge based on large live-streamed events that could skew data. Yet, Twitch is a platform that is primarily supported by its individual streamers, and it needs to fight to keep them around.

Publicly it may seem as if only two or three top streamers are leaving, but thousands of smaller streamers are jumping ship as well. In fact, even Disguised Toast – who just returned – thinks new streamers should avoid Twitch.

It’s not a good trend to be a part of, a downward spiral, and something needs to change to turn those figures around. Twitch has got to start fighting to keep the big names and fast.