Twitch may have exploded in the online content streaming wars, but its reign at the top of the charts could be fizzling out. While there’s no proof of a causal relationship, the decision to remove a large amount of gambling content from the site has been followed by a continued drop in popularity.
A panel participates in a gaming discussion during TwitchCon. Twitch has lost some ground in the online streaming wars after removing most gambling content, but still holds the largest share. (Image:
Twitch is still the most popular platform for live-streaming content, seeing significant growth following its acquisition by Amazon nine years ago. However, the decision to rewrite the rules on gambling content, as well as its revenue-sharing agreements with content creators, may be causing trouble.
It’s not alone, though. YouTube, which arrived in the streaming ecosystem first, is also lowering the amount it’s willing to pay creators, and this could give Kick another boost.
Twitch, YouTube Face Challenges
Twitch and YouTube began offering exclusivity to high-profile content creators in exchange for huge amounts of money. Kick also followed this model by offering high six- and seven-figure contracts to some of the best-known streamers when it launched.
Twitch has stated that it will move away from high-value content agreements with streamers since the model isn’t making the company any money. Twitch CEO Dan Clancy explained the changes in an interview with Bloomberg during TwitchCon in Las Vegas last week.
Clancy added that the “bidding war” strategy the companies have employed isn’t “a sustainable business.” Twitch had already eliminated its exclusivity clause in contracts with most streamers, giving them the ability to create content on other platforms. However, these are going to soon completely disappear.
The former NASA director indicated that Twitch is “significantly reducing” these types of contracts. Going forward, the company only wants to write contracts that offer general content creation conditions.
This will likely only give Stake.com-backed Kick renewed optimism, since it appears to be more than ready to open its wallet to content creators. It has at least $200 million on the table for attracting talent, and that could significantly tip the scales in its favor as Twitch and YouTube step back.
Amazon Takes a Bite Out of Twitch
At the beginning of October, Amazon reported new layoffs at Twitch. These will be on top of the 9,000 it announced last March. Added to this is the problem of the drop in audiences the platform is witnessing.
That’s not to say that Twitch is facing an immediate threat of extinction. The latest figures, according to TwitchTracker.com, show that its viewership in October was an average of 2.44 million. A month earlier, it was 2.3 million.
Its number of streamers, however, is dropping. The highest figure was in January 2021, when it recorded 9.89 million. This past July, there were 7.58 million, and there are now 7.13 million. As of this writing, there are 1.17 million viewers actively watching live streams, according to TwitchMetrics.com.
YouTube is doing slightly better. With half the number of live channels as Twitch, 4,333, it has 1.44 million active viewers.
Kick only has 657,291 streamers; however, it has proven that gambling content is king. At 33,309, the Slots and Casino category is the most popular. Just Chatting, with 19,189, is second, according to TwitchMetrics.net.
It Pays to Be on Kick
The change in revenue sharing is undoubtedly a huge catalyst for the change in performance. xQc, once the biggest name on Twitch, is now the biggest name on Kick, and he’s making more money as a result.
Twitch used to have a 70/30 split for most creators, but then changed the rules so that the figure was only attainable after meeting certain goals. This didn’t sit well with many streamers.
To many, those goals, such as 350 paid monthly subscribers, didn’t make sense. There was virtually no chance of seeing any boost in income, especially since the split was only valid on the first $100K. For most, the split was only ever going to be 50/50.
Then, Kick arrived and offered a sweet deal. Making the jump to the platform as a streamer meant seeing a 95/5 split. It was too good to refuse.
Twitch and YouTube may still have the numbers now, but consumerism is fickle. With fewer restrictions on content and big paychecks to some of the most popular content providers, more changes in the streaming wars – whether Clancy wants to call them that or not – are coming.
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