It’s not official just yet, but if reports coming in are true, then YouTube would be the new owner of video game streaming service Twitch.tv for a whopping $1 billion… that’s billion, with a B!
With sources with Variety claiming that this deal is in the works, it’s not quite there just yet. Google’s lawyers are going against the Justice Department on the grounds of competition issues, since both services are already dominating in their respective fields.
Twitch was launched in 2011 by Justin.TV co-founders Justin Kan and Emmett Shear as a subsidary of Justin.tv when e-sports and video game streaming started becoming more popular on Justin.TV. Its said that there are over 43 million viewers on Twitch every month, with the average viewer watching an hour and a half a day.
As of 2014, Twitch is the fourth largest source of internet traffic during peak times in the United States, behind Netflix, Google, and Apple. Twitch makes up 1.8% of total US internet traffic during peak periods.
In July 2011, Twitch launched its Partner Program, which has reached 4,000+ members already. Similar to the Partner Program of YouTube, the Partner Program allows popular content producers to share in the ad revenue from their streams.
Advertising on the site has been handled by a number of partners. In 2011, Twitch had an exclusive deal with Future US. On April 17, 2012, it was announced that Twitch announced a deal to give CBS Interactive the rights to exclusively sell advertising, promotions and sponsorships for the community. And then on June 5, 2013, Twitch announced the formation of the Twitch Media Group, a new in-house ad sales team which took over CBS Interactive’s role of selling advertisements.
Twitch is available as a mobile app on the iOS and Android platforms. Key features include viewing Twitch’s streaming content in high definition and in landscape view. It offers a browsing option of the top streamers. Users can browse by game title or featured games. The app also allows users to follow their favorite channels. In the iOS version, there is also an in-app chatting feature which allows viewers to chat with other viewers.
Twitch has been integrated into PC software, including video streaming to Twitch directly from EA’s Origin software, Ubisoft’s Uplay, games played on modern Nvidia video cards (via the driver’s ShadowPlay feature), and games such as Minecraft and Eve Online. Players also have the ability to link their Twitch accounts with accounts on Valve’s steam software. In 2013, Twitch released a software development kit to allow any developer to integrate Twitch streaming into their software.
Twitch also supports streaming from some consoles. Twitch has dedicated software for the Xbox 360, Ouya, PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. CEO Emmett Shear has stated a desire to support a wide variety of platforms, stating “Every platform where people watch video, we want to be there.”
This could possibly be the most successful addition to YouTube ever if the check is signed.