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Twitch surpasses CNN and MSNBC with record-breaking viewership

Video streaming platform attracts 962,000 concurrent viewers in January

Twitch's concurrent viewership reached record heights last month, with numbers comparable to the highest-rated US cable channels.

According to data from Macquarie analyst Benjamin Schachter, as presented on StreetInsider.com, Twitch's peak viewership for January was 962,000. This represented a 22% spike compared to January 2017, and a 26% increase from December.

As a point of comparison, Fox News Channel and ESPN peaked at 1.5 million, followed by MSNBC at 885,000, and CNN at 783,000.

Considering a year's worth of Twitch viewership data, Schachter noted that turnover was an issue. Less than 50% of games that appeared in the top ten weekly rankings in January 2017 also ranked in the top ten a year later.

"Esports as a whole is becoming a more concrete opportunity, but which games and genres will be the most popular/viewed esports over time is unclear," he said.

It's also worth noting that January was somewhat of an atypical month for the video streaming platform, and the spike in viewership may not prove indicative of any longer-term trends just yet.

First of all, January marked the return of infamous streamer Tyler1 to League of Legends, who broke all previous records when his channel attracted over 300,000 concurrent viewers.

Additionally, the launch of the Overwatch League generated huge numbers in terms of viewership with around ten million people tuning in across all platforms over the first four days. These numbers have since tapered off to a more consistent baseline.

Finally, January played host to the Sea of Thieves closed beta, which saw the fledgling title dominate Twitch as the most watched game on the platform, peaking at 150,000.

It's possible that one of the spikes disrupted the norm and contributed to over-inflating the figures. Essentially, a truer picture of Twitch's standing in comparison to major US cable networks is still yet to form, but the current data indicates solid progress from the year prior.

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