Amazon's Twitch streaming service is pulling in more viewers than certain US cable channels. The American retail giant purchased Twitch back in 2014 for $970 million, a deal which was met with slight uncertainty at the time due to how the service would fit into Amazon's future. Nonetheless, fast forward nearly four years and it appears the purchase of the streaming service has paid off significantly, with its viewership numbers now overtaking those of a number of popular cable channels.
Last month, it's reported that Twitch averaged a viewership of 962,000 people, putting it on course to hit the one million mark in the near future. This growth in viewers represents a 22-percent increase versus January 2017 and is largely due to Twitch's broadcasting deals, which include all NBA G League games as of December 2017, and the company's recent partnership with Blizzard, which granted Twitch exclusive rights to all Overwatch League e-sport games over the course of the next two years, something that should prove very popular among the gaming community. At Twitch's current levels, though, the streaming service reaches more people than MSNBC and CNN, which have average audiences of 885,000 and 783,000 respectively, while the Amazon-owned streaming service could eventually overtake the likes of Fox News and ESPN, which have viewerships of approximately 1.5 million users. Although the majority of Twitch's focus is on the gaming community, hence the recent Blizzard deal, its partnerships with the likes of NBA and even the "IRL" streaming option prove that the site is willing to broaden its reach and could even enter into direct competition with the likes of Fox News if it chooses to in the future.
In terms of what this means for Amazon, a bigger audience on Twitch should translate to higher ad revenues. After all, although the service is free to use, much like YouTube, the majority of its income comes from ad-supported videos. Nonetheless, as another source of income, the streaming site also offers Twitch Prime which is included in the Amazon Prime and Prime video subscriptions and gives users access to ad-free viewing, exclusive content, and free loot every month. Furthermore, Twitch users can also purchase the "Bits" virtual currency in order to tip their favorite streamers on the site, therefore generating income for both Amazon and Twitch's content creators.