As more consumers cut the cord in search of alternative forms of entertainment, video game live-streaming site Twitch has experienced impressive growth. In 2013, the service had more unique monthly users than Netflix and Hulu, and it jumped into the top 15 online services recently, passing HBO Go in terms of bandwidth. Now, YouTube is reportedly interested in acquiring Twitch for $1 billion.
The move would be right in line with YouTube’s core audience of video game fans. For example, the most popular YouTuber is PewDiePie, according to SocialBlade, a social media analytics tool. With almost 27 million YouTube subscribers, and almost 240,000 Twitch followers, PewDiePie and the like transition easily between the platforms because of their style of content.
Twitch’s advertising, and subscription option that removes the advertising for a small fee, could prove to be a lucrative model for YouTube. But sources close to the deal have been fairly tight-lipped. “The two companies have agreed on a price and are working out details such as how independent the Twitch company and brand will remain,“ according to an anonymous source quoted in The Verge.
While details are not currently forthcoming, the acquisition could be a boon to both services. YouTube already has Hangouts On Air and livestreaming, but when it comes to video game streaming, Twitch is king. By becoming part of Google, Twitch could update its infrastructure and finally keep pace with its massive growth.
“To be quite honest, we can’t keep up with the growth,” Twitch marketing VP Matt DiPietro told The Verge in February. “That’s a good problem to have.”
For YouTube, acquiring Twitch works to keep its user base in house. Users would stream to Twitch, and the archive could be kept on YouTube, which is already a common practice for streamers. Using both services could also open up dual revenue streams on the same content for Let’s Players. And with the purchase, YouTube could bring its potential competitor into the company for the same purpose.
Twitch declined to comment about the potential deal.