×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Google Seals Deal to Buy Twitch for $1 Billion: Report

Google has finally clinched a deal to buy videogame-broadcasting company Twitch for $1 billion, VentureBeat reported, citing anonymous sources.

Variety first reported in May that Google had reached a preliminary pact to acquire Twitch for $1 billion in cash, in order to augment its YouTube video site.

Reps for Twitch and Google declined to comment.

SEE ALSO: Why Google Wants to Hitch Twitch and YouTube

Twitch was created by the founders of Justin.tv, a website designed for users to “lifecast” themselves with online video. After a growing number of videogamers began using Justin.tv to broadcast their gameplay, the company launched the dedicated Twitch.tv service in mid-2011.

Privately held Twitch has raised about $35 million in funding — meaning the $1 billion deal is a significant windfall for its backers. Investors include Bessemer Venture Partners, Alsop Louie Partners, WestSummit Capital, Take-Two Interactive Software, Thrive Capital and Draper Associates. Twitch Interactive, which includes Justin.tv, has about 130 employees.

San Francisco-based Twitch says it has more than 45 million monthly users, who watch an average of 106 minutes of video daily. Users can upload and watch free, live gameplay videos from Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4 consoles. Twitch generates revenue through ads and as well as subscriptions, with about 300,000 paying members.

With Twitch, YouTube could extend live-streaming to other categories, including with multichannel network partners like Disney’s Maker Studios and Machinima, which focuses heavily on the male-oriented videogame segment. YouTube’s own efforts to intro live broadcasting have had limited success to date.

Google and YouTube also want Twitch because it has established a proven model for subscription-based video. A year ago, YouTube launched a paid-channel initiative with 30 partners, including The Jim Henson Co., NatGeo Kids, Nelvana Enterprises and DHX Media. But to date, the pay channels have seen very little traction. Meanwhile, the Internet-video leader — which generates a large amount of traffic from music videos — expects to launch a paid music service in the next few months.

One potential issue with Google’s Twitch deal is that regulators may challenge the transaction if they believe the combination of the No. 1 online-video platform (YouTube) and the No. 1 live-streaming Internet service (Twitch) raises anticompetitive issues. Google’s lawyers have been preparing for such an objection, sources said.

In March 2014, Twitch represented 1.35% of all downstream bandwidth on North American fixed-access broadband networks during primetime hours, nearly triple from last fall, according to bandwidth-equipment company Sandvine. YouTube’s share of downstream bandwidth was 13.2%, while Netflix remained the biggest consumer of traffic with 34.2%.

More Digital

  • Mueller Report Books Editions Top Amazon's

    Mueller Report Print Editions Shoot to Top of Best-Seller Lists at Amazon, Barnes & Noble

    Robert Mueller is now a best-selling author. Book publishers’ forthcoming editions of the special counsel’s report zoomed to the top of the Amazon’s and Barnes & Noble’s lists of book best-sellers Friday. That comes a day after the report was publicly released, culminating the nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election [...]

  • Marques Brownlee - Retro Tech

    YouTube Orders Marques Brownlee 'Retro Tech' Original Series

    YouTube has turned to one of its homegrown stars — technology vlogger Marques Brownlee, aka “MKBHD” — for its newest original series. The video platform has greenlit series “Retro Tech” featuring Brownlee, in which he’ll unbox and review vintage technology products that have defined pop culture. The show, slated to debut in December 2019, follows [...]

  • Netflix Tests Random Episode Button in

    Netflix Starts Testing Random Episode Button

    Netflix is testing a button to play random episodes of select TV shows, the company confirmed Friday morning. “We are testing the ability for members to play a random episode from different TV series on the Android mobile app,” a Netflix spokesperson told Variety. “These tests typically vary in length of time and by region, [...]

  • Netflix Our Planet Sophie Darlington

    Netflix's 'Our Planet' Roars to Life With Work by Top Wildlife Cinematographers

    In terms of scope, production time and — very likely — budget, Netflix’s “Our Planet” is one of the most ambitious projects from the streaming service to date. Narrated by David Attenborough and made available worldwide on April 5, the goal of the eight-part series is to capture diverse habitats across the globe and highlight [...]

  • Amazon

    Amazon Music’s Free Tier Is More Advertising Play Than Spotify Killer, Analysts Say

    When news began to spread last week that Amazon Music’s long-anticipated free streaming tier was imminent, headlines emerged about its threat to Spotify and Apple Music, with some stories saying that Spotify’s stock price dropped in response to the news. But not only was today’s launch of the free tier basically a soft one — [...]

  • Gay Chorus Deep South

    Why Airbnb Produced Documentary 'Gay Chorus Deep South,' Its First-Ever Film (EXCLUSIVE)

    The latest player to hit the film-festival circuit may be a bit unexpected: Airbnb, the travel-accommodations booking marketplace, developed, financed and produced documentary film “Gay Chorus Deep South,” set to premiere at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival on April 29. It’s the company’s very first feature film. Directed by David Charles Rodrigues, “Gay Chorus Deep [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content