292 billion minutes: Amazon’s Twitch hit record viewership in 2016


The popular livestreaming platform Twitch revealed today that users watched more than 292 billion minutes of content last year, up 20 percent from the viewership in 2015.

Even more impressive, Twitch said, more than 2.2 million unique streamers used its service in 2016. In a whimsical retrospective released today, Twitch revealed a few of its more impressive statistics from last year and highlighted some of the most memorable moments from 2016.

Twitch has come a long way since it was purchased by Amazon.com Inc. in 2014 for a hefty $970 million. One change that has fueled the growth of both Twitch’s viewership and its livestreaming community was the introduction of several new streaming categories that expanded the platform beyond the realm of video games. This includes the Twitch Creative category introduced in October 2015, which allows streamers to broadcast their artistic process, whether that is music production, painting, digital art or even cooking.

In addition to new streaming categories, Twitch also introduced several new features last year, including an auto-moderation tool and HTML5 support, but perhaps the biggest feature to arrive in 2016 was Twitch Prime. Twitch Prime offers several benefits to Amazon Prime subscribers, including exclusive game deals and ad-free viewing. It also allows users to subscribe to one channel for free each month, something which normally costs $5 per subscription.

This free channel subscription is a nice bonus for the average user, but it has turned out to be a game changer for Twitch streamers who now have an enormous new source of income. According to Twitch, there were more than 1 million free Twitch Prime channel subscriptions last year.

While 2016 was a big year for Twitch, it was also a big year for gaming, and Twitch highlighted several major titles from last year in its retrospective. This includes the phenomenally popular “Pokemon Go,” which became the first mobile game to make it to the top of the viewer charts. Blizzard Entertainment’s “Overwatch” also quickly became a Twitch favorite, becoming the most watched new game and snagging a top 10 spot that it will likely hold onto for some time. Of course, Twitch’s top 10 still kept a few of its esports mainstays, including “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive,” “League of Legends,” “Dota 2” and “Hearthstone.”

Finally, Twitch also noted some of the real-world impacts of its service, which included more than $25.3 million raised for charity by a number of streaming events. The site also hosted its second TwitchCon in San Francisco, drawing a crowd of more than 35,000 attendees.

Image courtesy of Twitch