An American video streaming platform, Twitch was launched in 2011. It differentiates itself from other popular streaming platforms by focusing more on live interactions with the audience. Twitch saw a significant increase in its user base during pandemic, when people were forced to stay inside during lockdown.
As people sought new ways of leisure and entertainment, they migrated to streaming sites like Twitch. While it was initially focused on gaming, Twitch now has creators from various other domains such as music, sports, food and drink, talk shows, travel and outdoors and special events. With Twitch, creators can share their special skills and talent and create a community around it.
Origins of Twitch can be traced back to 2007, when it was launched as Justin TV. While there were several categories of content, it was the gaming category that got the most number of users. Seeing the growing interest in gaming, this category was later spun off into an independent platform called TwitchTV. Later in 2014, the parent company was rebranded as Twitch Interactive.
In the same year, Twitch Interactive was acquired by Amazon. It was an all-cash deal valued at US$970 million. It was speculated that Google was also interested in acquiring Twitch Interactive. However, the deal is considered to have been abandoned, as there were risks that it could have led to antitrust issues. By acquiring Twitch, Amazon strengthened its position in terms of content creation and video streaming.
Twitch has many firsts to its name, for example, it utilizes its own in-site currency referred to as ‘Bits. Users on Twitch can opt for subscription-based services and they can also donate to their favorite creators. Twitch has also emerged as a hub for developers, who provide their services to creators that want to ensure a unique experience for their audience.
Twitch has received investments worth $35 million via three rounds of funding. Some of the key investors include Thrive Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners and Draper Associates.
Since 2014, Twitch has made 6 acquisitions – GoodGame, Curse, ClipMine, Revlo, Bebo and IGDB. Most of these relate to gaming and/or social networking and have helped Twitch to grow its user base.
Twitch competes with other streaming platforms such as YouTube, Dailymotion and MLG.
About the founders
Twitch was founded by Justin Kan, Emmett Shear, Michael Seibel, Kyle Vogt and Kevin Lin. The company is currently led by Emmett Shear, who serves as the CEO. Prior to Twitch, he was with Y Combinator and Kiko Software Inc. Emmett has a computer science degree from Yale University.