Amazon's streaming service Twitch is pulling in as many viewers as CNN and MSNBC
- Amazon-owned Twitch is now pulling in as many monthly viewers as cable news networks.
- In January 2018, Twitch had nearly a million people watching at any given point.
- Twitch primarily features live video streams of people playing video games, but the service has added other types of content recently.
Amazon's $970 million bet on game streaming service Twitch continues to pay off - the service is now averaging more viewers than some major cable networks.
In January, 962,000 people was the average viewership on Twitch. Sometimes there was more, sometimes there was less - but in general, nearly a million people were watching Twitch at any given point.
That puts Twitch viewership on par with the likes of MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, and ESPN.
"For comparison, 2017 total day viewership for Fox News Channel and ESPN was ~1.5 million, MSNBC was 885,000, and CNN was 783,000," Macquarie Capital analyst Ben Schachter points out in a recent note, "putting Twitch squarely among the most-watched US cable channels."
Twitch is a free service that's populated by user-generated content. People play games live on Twitch while other folks watch. There is a comment section so that viewers can interact with the person streaming, along with the ability to tip the streamer with a virtual currency called "Bits" that can be purchased with real money.
Both Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One have software built in that enables streaming games directly to Twitch from the consoles, and many streamers use gaming PCs to broadcast. Watching Twitch is similarly open and simple.
Beyond gaming, Twitch also offers "IRL" streaming - an acronym for "in real life" - which enables people to share their reality with a streaming audience. It's not clear how much this burgeoning section of Twitch contributed to the overall average viewership record set in January, but it's a good idea of where Twitch could go in the future.