2020 was “the year” for live streaming platforms. The restrictions and isolation imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide have made live broadcasts even more attractive to millions and millions of people. The performance of the three main video game platforms, Facebook Gaming, Twitch and Youtube Gaming confirms this.
According to a compilation made by Streamlabs and Stream Hatchet, together the three platforms recorded almost twice the number of hours watched in Q4 2020 compared to the same period of 2019: there were no less than 8.3 billion hours watched against 4.2 billion hours in the previous year.
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Considering the total hours watched throughout the year, 2020 reached the mark of 27.9 billion hours of watched content against 15.7 billion hours in 2019, an increase of 77.8%.
Betting on sports league deals worked
An analysis by eMarketer and Insider Intelligence brings some insights into the reasons for this boom in streaming platforms.
Focused on broadcasting shows (a crucial feature for artists whose live performances were canceled) and sports content (such as NFL and NBA games), Twitch led the audience in live broadcasts, reaching 5.4 billion hours watched on Q4 2020, that is, 65.8% of the total hours watched on all platforms in that period.
Youtube Gaming leveraged its audience with agreements with sports leagues and with the production of authorial content, taking 23.3% of the total hours watched on all platforms in the Q4. The great thing about the platform was the agreement to broadcast the Overwatch League and the Call of Duty League. Thanks to the production of authorial content, Youtube Gaming reported that more than 1,000 game creators gained 5 million subscribers last year.
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Third most popular platform in the past year, Facebook Gaming has benefited from integration with Microsoft’s Mixer. With the integration, the platform almost tripled its hours watched in 2020, reaching 3.1 billion hours watched. Facebook Gaming also invested in an app, realizing that its audience consumed a lot of content via the app.