Twitch Competitors Nibble at Overall Streaming Market Share But Still Fall Far Behind

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The Amazon-owned platform accounted for 73 percent of total live stream hours watched.

Video platform Twitch is still the overall leader in total global live-stream hours watched, according to data compiled by streaming analytics firm Arsenal and published by StreamElements.

While Twitch's percentage of the market share dropped year-over-year from 2018, the Amazon-owned platform still maintains 73 percent of the overall market share (9.3 billion streaming hours watched), eclipsing competitors such as Mixer (353 million hours watched), Facebook Gaming (356 million) and YouTube Gaming (2.7 billion). The latter is Twitch's biggest competitor, accounting for 21 percent of the total hours streamed. However, YouTube Gaming also saw a 1 percent decline year-over-year, while Mixer and Facebook Gaming both increased from a 1 percent total share to 3 percent.

There were major shifts this year in the streaming talent ecosystem. The trend started in August when Twitch superstar Tyler "Ninja" Blevins opted to hop ship for Microsoft's Mixer platform. At the time, Blevins was Twitch's biggest star, boasting 14 million followers and having already achieved crossover success with appearances on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon and sponsorships from companies like Red Bull. 

Twitch responded by signing an exclusive deal with YouTube streaming star Nicholas "Nick Eh 30" Amyoony later that month. A number of notable shuffles occurred elsewhere in the following months, including another major star at Twitch, Michael "Shroud" Grzesiek, departing in October.

"What the numbers tell us are that while all of the platforms are growing, the newer platforms are gradually taking away market share from the older ones," Doron Nir, CEO of StreamElements, said. "Even with big influencer deals, there has yet to be an overnight success in this space because building a successful streaming platform takes time. It's a combination of a solid talent-driven content strategy, strong tech with compelling features and the ability to scale paired with a community of third-party devs, and creating revenue opportunities for creators from both audiences and brands."

Each of the four platforms cited in the report increased the total number of hours watched year-over-year. Twitch was up 20 percent and YouTube Gaming was up 16 percent, but both Mixer and Facebook Gaming showed significant increases from 2018, up 149 percent and 210 percent, respectively.

"Mixer and Facebook Gaming are both doing an excellent job at growing their market share," said Nir. "This growth is not yet related to their recent talent grabs, but a year-long focus on achieving parity among basic offerings such as low lag and latency. Because of where they are all at technologically, moving forward the talent investments become more critical. We are at the stage where there is a large enough audience for all platforms to succeed, but content is king in the same way Netflix, HBO, Prime Video and Disney+ occupy the same space with their own exclusive shows."

On the talent side, the year's top streamer was esports pro Turner "Tfue" Tenney with 87.8 million hours watched. Grzesiek earned the No. 2 spot with 65.8 million hours watched (across both Twitch and Mixer combined) followed by former esports pro Jaryd "Summit1g" Lazar (60.9 million); Blevins (57.9 million, across Twitch and mixer); and World of Warcraft streamer Asmongold (55.4. million). Each of the top five streamers of the year are primarily known for their Twitch channels, with the obvious exceptions of Grzesiek and Blevins, both of whom departed the platform in the latter half of 2019.

The most watched gaming titles in 2019, meanwhile, featured many of the same entries as 2018's list. League of Legends and Fortnite came out on top with 990 million and 884.9 million hours watched, respectively. The two titles swapped places atop the list from 2018 due to Fortnite declining 28 percent year-over-year from its high of 1.2 billion hours watched last year (League of Legends, conversely, improved by 7 percent from 929.6 million hours watched in 2018).

Other notable titles on the list include Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto V (up 277 percent year-over-year to 523.3 million hours watched, the No. 4 slot overall) and Valve's Dota 2 (up just 1 percent from 2018 to 458.9 million hours watched, earning the No. 5 spot). 

The only new release to land on the top 10 list for the year was EA and Respawn's battle royale shooter Apex Legends, which racked up 294.5 million hours watched (No. 8 on the overall list).