Report: Twitch set a new viewership record in November (Arsenal.gg, StreamElements)

More than 1.7 billion hours were watched on Twitch last month, prompting impressive growth for a couple of non-gaming channels.

Today, streaming tools provider StreamElements and its analytics partner Arsenal.gg, released their joint report examining November’s trends in the livestreaming landscape. According to the data, Twitch has set a new record for monthly viewership numbers, with 1.7 billion hours watched in November. This number is 0.5% higher than October’s numbers, which was also a record at the time. Meanwhile, Facebook Gaming has experienced 100% year-over-year growth.

For Doron Nir, CEO of StreamElements, Twitch’s milestone highlights accelerated growth for the streaming industry; it was already a popular entertainment medium before the pandemic, but COVID-19 appears to have set it on the fast track. 

“Not only did streaming garner increased attention from existing and new viewers, it attracted a more diverse swath of creators, such as performing artists, fitness trainers, and educators,” Nir told GameDaily. “As impressive as the numbers are now, live content still has a lot more room to grow.”

Twitch’s top-performing category for the month was Just Chatting, which clocked in at 228 million hours watched, a 14% growth over the previous month. This cements Just Chatting’s place as the most popular channel on Twitch, beating out perennial heavy hitters like League of Legends, Fortnite, and Minecraft.

“Unlike games, which have a shelf life, Just Chatting is tethered to the timeless appeal of more direct viewer interaction,” Nir explained. “Based on the consistency of the category’s growth since its inception, we expect it to remain a fan favorite for years to come.”

Notably, Just Chatting is one of the few channels to experience growth in November. Most games saw a decline in viewership, including Among Us, Fortnite, and FIFA 21. In fact, only three games in the top 10 saw growth last month: Minecraft, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and World of Warcraft

The latter saw the release of a new expansion pack, Shadowlands, which bolstered its viewership for November, while Minecraft received a Star Wars-themed content pack.

Minecraft experienced a major jump in viewership activity based on the launch of Star Wars DLC,” Nir said. “This illustrates how new content drops can help long-standing franchises maintain their popularity even when facing off against new releases.”One of the more standout statistics of the report is the impressive growth of Twitch’s Beauty and Body category. The channel received 117,000 hours watched in November, which wasn’t enough to land it in the top 10, but it was a massive 260% increase over November 2019. For all of Q4 the category surpassed 466,000 hours watched, a massive 441% increase over Q1’s 86,000. The report notes that viewership of Beauty and Body peaked in October thanks to Halloween cosplay content.

“Almost every category on Twitch experienced a huge bump in traffic when the pandemic drove people from in-person events to digital entertainment,” Nir said. “Beauty in particular saw a lot of viewership come from the drag queen community since many of them brought their acts online once the club scene went on a forced hiatus.”

Further, Body and Beauty saw an increase in other content, such as tattoo tutorials and makeup and nail art, highlighting the variety present on the channel. As a result, a number of brands have taken to advertising through influencers there, including L’Oréal, MAC, NYX, Em, Hero, and e.l.f. This, Nir said, points to continued growth in the future for Body and Beauty.

“Given that we've seen around a half a dozen cosmetic brands working with the livestreaming creator community just this year, we expect it to grow even more next year. That being said, brands won't necessarily be targeting creators who solely use the beauty category, but instead focusing on influencers in general who take pride in the cosmetics they use.”

All told, the pandemic has fostered an impressive amount of growth for the livestreaming landscape, growth that extends well beyond just video games. It’s been an interesting trend to watch, and it will be enlightening to see what these numbers do in the coming months as COVID-19 vaccines start getting distributed.

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Editor-in-Chief

Sam, the Editor-in-Chief of GameDaily.biz, is a former freelance game reporter. He's been seen at IGN, PCGamesN, PCGamer, Unwinnable, and many more. When not writing about games, he is most likely taking care of his two dogs or pretending to know a lot about artisan coffee. Get in touch with Sam by emailing him at  sdesatoff@rektglobal.com or follow him on Twitter.