Total hours watched on Twitch fell steeply over the last three months, as several of the service’s top streamers signed lucrative deals to move to other platforms. According to the latest report from Streamlabs and Newzoo, total hours watched fell to 2.3 million during the final quarter of the year, down from 2.6 million the quarter before. The figure puts Twitch slightly lower than where it sat in the final quarter of 2018, despite a year of overall growth.
The decline comes amid a talent war, which kicked off in August, that’s led to a number of high-profile streamers leaving Twitch. The platform’s biggest loss was Ninja, who went to Mixer, followed by Shroud, CouRage, and more. Those streamers all had millions of followers on Twitch. Their absence means fans are going elsewhere to watch them, and that Twitch may have a harder time directing curious viewers to streams that get them to stick around.
Twitch still saw a 12 percent increase in total hours watched across all of 2019 compared to 2018, and the streaming market as a whole is still growing. But the talent losses and year-end decline suggest that keeping that growth up could be more of a challenge for Twitch than it was just six months ago.
Elsewhere, the talent grabs seem to be working. YouTube Gaming, which signed CouRage, saw a sharp rise in hours watched over the last quarter. (Though, as TechCrunch points out, it’s largely due to broadcasting esports events, rather than any one individual streamer.) Mixer is also up significantly this year, more than doubling its total hours watched, according to the report. It’s a little hard to say how much Ninja and other top streamers contributed to that since Mixer’s viewership actually peaked before they came on board, but it’s possible they’re helping to set a new baseline for the service that’s well above where it used to sit.