Amazon is betting almost $1 billion on what Reuters calls “one of the Internet’s hottest media properties.” Amazon on Monday announced the $970 million acquisition of Twitch for its fast-growing business of live-streaming people playing video games.
“Some believe live and interactive streaming, in which Twitch is a pioneer, is the new frontier in online video,” Reuters reports.
Ethan Kurzweil of Bessemer Ventures said that when he initially explained Twitch, people sometimes didn’t understand it. “The San Francisco-based start-up lets gamers livecast their play while responding to cheers, tips and random musings from online viewers in real time,” the article notes.
Reuters adds: “In three years, Twitch has become the fourth-largest U.S. producer of peak Internet traffic, ahead of Facebook and Hulu, according to Bessemer, a backer.”
Amazon had competition in its bid for Twitch, notes The New York Times.
“Amazon had to outmaneuver a who’s who of the tech world, including Google — strongly suggesting that these companies think the era of video-game viewing is just starting. It also underscored Amazon’s growing appetite for controlling and delivering content to digital devices, especially the tablets and smartphones made by Amazon,” The Times adds.
The site is now one of the top 15 most-trafficked websites, with viewers coming to Twitch to learn how to become better gamers or to get a sense of how a game works before buying it.
“Some of the biggest followings on Twitch are of people who are simply amusing, rather than the best players,” The Times adds.