All the Bits - Twitch Revenue Quadruples During Lockdown

Ariel Michaeli Ariel Michaeli
5/29/20 #streaming

Humans need social interaction. While Zoom got most of the attention, another platform also saw a transformation from a niche to prime-time—Twitch.

Come Stream Away

Twitch, in case you didn't know, started as a streaming platform for gamers in 2011. The platform grew in popularity and was acquired by Amazon in 2014. It's been doing very well on its own, but the lockdown pushed its appeal far beyond gamers to teaching, music, sports, and many others. More interest means more downloads. Or, in this case, a lot more downloads.

Twitch downloads in the U.S.

Based on our estimates, we can see that downloads in the U.S. App Store have more than doubled during the lockdown, shifting from about 20K/day to a peak of 60K in a single day in late March. Although the trend has a slight negative slope, U.S. downloads are still at more than double what they were in January.

Revenue's Growing Bit by Bit

But, do these downloads actually translate to revenue? Absolutely!

Twitch's U.S. revenue has been climbing at a steady rate. Pre-lockdown, Twitch was bringing in a stable $70,000/day. As the lockdown progressed, however, that number grew and peaked at more than $400,000 in a single day in early May.

This Is Great News for Twitch and for Streamers

Twitch charges for in-app currency, which viewers can give streamers, so these numbers aren't all going into Twitche's pocket. Bits, which is how Twitch calls its in-app currency, cost $0.014, and Twitch keeps $0.004.

So far, in 2020, Twitch earned $30M in the U.S. App Store. A simple back of the envelope calculation shows that Twitch kept about $8.6M, and streamers got $21.4M. That's a lot of bits!

FYI - These numbers don't account for discounted bit bundles.

Not Just in the U.S.

Although the estimates above focus on the U.S., this increase in demand is a global trend for the platform. Here are the top 10 markets, by downloads this year:

Twitch donwloads by country

The lockdown hurt many apps, but not this one. Twitch has cemented itself as a platform for gamers and is now making its way into other areas where streaming is valuable, a trend we don't expect to change any time soon.

The World is Becoming Mobile

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