Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Why Amazon Paid An Astronomical Sum For Twitch

A typical retail display (in Geneva, Switzerla...
A typical retail display (in Geneva, Switzerland) with a large selection of games for several major consoles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Twitch was purchased by Amazon for more than $1.1 billion, a price that includes $970 million in cash.  So what did all of this money buy?

Amazon got two things:  They're going to get a video audience that is deeply engaged and a media company that is currently generating cash in an unconventional fashion.

In terms of viewers, Amazon understands that there is a massive and growing audience for live-streaming video games.  In 2013, Twitch viewers watched video for approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes on a daily basis.

Amazon currently spends more than a billion dollars annually on video content, but Twitch gets all of its content for free.  It is clearly interesting that Twitch is already making a nice profit.  Our estimates suggest that Twitch is presently earning above $72 million on its run rate.

While the current revenue for this company has not been disclosed by Twitch or even how the revenue is broken down, a close source has said that active subscribers number around 600,000 and that this would bring in about $36 million annually.  When factoring in advertising revenue, however, which is the largest part of Twitch revenue overall, the total would come to at least $72 million.

So what's the driving force behind this amazing growth?  Subscriptions are not what drive Twitch viewing, but a lot of Twitch viewers show their support by getting subscriptions.  They offer support for Speedrunner, MANvsGAME, Cosmo Wright and other popular broadcasters as a show of appreciation.

After all, these broadcasters often produce many days of viewing content every month.

This is quite different from the videos that are supplied by Amazon.  There is some video provided by Amazon's Prime Instant Video, but this comes bundled with a subscription for Amazon Prime which runs about $100 annually.  Video can be sold or rented at premium prices.

Twitch was initially poised for purchase by YouTube.  Now, however, with the purchase of Twitch, Amazon has a platform that is a lot like YouTube.

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