Is YouTube making a play in the livestreamed video game world? It has offered to buy eSports streaming portal Twitch for more than $1 billion, according to a Variety report. The deal, which would be the largest acquisition ever for YouTube, could be announced soon.
However, The Wall Street Journal said the companies' talks are only preliminary. A purchase price has not been revealed, and the WSJ said that Twitch was also considering raising funds instead of selling.
Both YouTube and Twitch declined to comment on the reports.
Twitch, spun off from Justin.TV in June 2011, has become a popular online hub for gaming-related video content. It averages 45 million unique visitors a month who watch about 106 minutes of livestreamed video a day, according to the company.
But YouTube might be most interested in Twitch's ability to keep viewers glued to ads. The site gets 400 million to 500 million ad impressions a month and an impressive 90-plus percent completion rate. The industry average is a little less than 50 percent, per media mobile ad serving and analytics company Celtra.
Advertisers have been wary of YouTube, an issue that parent company Google is trying to address with Google Preferred, a new premium offering that allows brands to place promos against the top 1 percent and 5 percent of YouTube's videos.
Twitch raised an additional $20 million in series C funding in late September 2013. It also let go of CBS Interactive's ad inventory in June 2013 in order to pursue its own internal advertising ventures.