Twitch Dominates Online Viewership Despite Star Tyler "Ninja" Blevins' Departure

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The Amazon-owned streaming platform accounted for more than 75 percent of total live-stream hours viewed from July through September.

In August, streaming platform Twitch lost its biggest star: Tyler "Ninja" Blevins. After years on the Amazon-owned streaming platform cultivating an audience of more than 14 million followers, Blevins opted to jump ship for Microsoft's Mixer as part of an exclusive deal worth an undisclosed amount.

Two months later and it seems the breakup had no impact on Twitch. According to data compiled by streaming analytics firm Arsenal and published by StreamElements, Twitch accounted for more than 75 percent of the total hours watched from live streams of the four major streaming platforms (Twitch, Mixer, Facebook Gaming and YouTube) in Q3 2019 (July through September).

YouTube accounted for the second largest slice of total viewership hours at 17.6 percent, while Facebook Gaming and Mixer came in at 3.7 and 3.2 percent, respectively.

Overall, Twitch amassed roughly 2.6 billion hours viewed over the three-month period, while YouTube produced 595.3 million hours, Facebook Gaming produced 124.1 million and Mixer had 107.5 million. 

"Ninja's move to Mixer turned out to not be the game-changer they probably hoped when comparing their market share with Twitch's," said Doron Nir, CEO of StreamElements. However, when looking at new data (shared by StreamElements on Friday) covering the same period in 2018, Mixer has more doubled its viewership numbers year-over-year in Q3 2019.

"One thing worth noting about Mixer's signing of Ninja is that regardless of his impact on hours watched, it was a smart move to promote the Mixer brand, especially with Ninja doing extensive interviews about it," Nir said in a new statement on Friday.

Originally launched in 2016 as Beam, Microsoft's streaming platform was rebranded to Mixer in 2017. In the two months since his signing, Blevins has amassed 2 million followers on the site, the most of any streamer on the service by a wide margin. Shortly after the Ninja split, Twitch lured YouTube star Nicholas "Nick Eh 30" Amyoony to its platform with an exclusive deal in August.

Twitch CEO Emmett Shear told The Hollywood Reporter at his company's annual convention, TwitchCon, this weekend that it is "incredibly important for us to have stars" on the platform. Still, he didn't see the departure of Blevins as a particularly worrisome split. 

"Any media community needs its stars, but I don’t think of it so much as having the ones that exist because neither Shroud nor Ninja were huge celebrity stars four years ago," he said. "What I’m excited about is the ability to build up tomorrow’s stars and to really figure out how Twitch can help people find their audience as streamers."

Though Facebook's viewership numbers still lag behind Twitch and YouTube, the tech giant was the only platform to grow its numbers over the quarter.  "It helps to apply a global filter to the data, since Facebook is also strong in a lot of overseas markets," said Nir. "That being said, Twitch's percentage of the pie chart illustrates that they have slightly increased their market share."

Oct. 4, 2:27 p.m. Updated with new Mixer data from StreamElements, statement from Nir and new chart.