I have some shocking news for you folks: people watch a lot of gaming videos on the internet. I know this is unprecedented information, stuff you could never have gleaned from the massive daily viewer counts on Twitch and YouTube, but now we’ve got cold, hard numbers to back it up.
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A new report from SuperData Research, which comes to us by way of Dot Esports, compares YouTube and Twitch subscribers to more traditional content providers like HBO, Spotify, and Netflix. Both dwarf the competition. Gaming content alone on YouTube drew 517 million viewers while Twitch drew another 185 million. The next closest competitor is HBO, which had 134 million subscribers in the same timeframe.
Of course, there’s a significant difference in that YouTube and Twitch are free, typically ad-supported sources of content while the other services here are all run on a premium subscription model - though Spotify, which offers both options, makes an interesting comparison. The information provided also doesn’t include more traditional sources of video like broadcast or cable television, or even rentals and purchases through iTunes or Amazon. But even with those caveats in mind, the numbers are impressive, and they certainly paint gaming as the king of online video content.
While ad support has become an iffy consideration in the gaming video market, it’s still big business, with $2.8 billion coming to the space in ad money and $329 million in direct sponsorships. But even for those content creators who can’t rely on ads, donations and subscriptions can still prove lucrative. Subscriptions brought in $625 million and donations likewise topped $793 million. Maybe Patreon is the real winner in all this.
It’s certainly an interesting time for gaming video content. Stars like PewDiePie have been massively successful, but the same controversy which often accompanies figures like this has left advertisers skittish about promoting gaming content of any kind. That’s been leaves anybody who’s not at that level of success in the dark about how monetization is working for them, particularly on YouTube. There’s a lot of interest there on the part of part of both creators and audiences, but it’s not clear exactly how sustainable the business will end up being.
In the meantime, please be sure to check out the PCGamesN YouTube channel.