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Twitch.tv hits 8M viewers, partners with Blizzard’s largest Starcraft 2 tournament

Online game broadcasting network Twitch.tv has passed 8 million unique visitors and 1 billion of minutes viewed in July. It has also partnered with the Global Starcraft League, the host of the largest Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty tournament, VentureBeat has learned.

Justin.tv launched Twitch.tv, a video streaming site branded for competitive gaming, at the Electronic Entertainment Expo video game trade show in early June. The site broadcasts live streams from professional gamers and tournaments in competitive gaming leagues called e-sports leagues, where players compete for tens of thousands of dollars in prizes and money.

The company has also signed more than 500 competitive gamers into its revenue-sharing partner program. The program gives gamers that have generated a large number of followers on the site a way to make money off their video streams the same way popular YouTube publishers can make money with their videos. Those competitive gamers usually already have thousands of fans in the gaming community who closely follow their actions.

“There are hours and hours of TV watched every day, but most people aren’t even watching the content,” Justin.tv vice president of marketing Matthew DiPietro told VentureBeat. “Whereas content on niche sites with hyper-engaged audiences, these guys are just dialed into this content and actively chatting with their friends while watching the video.”

The Global Starcraft League tournament, or GSL, is the world’s largest Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty tournament. It’s held in South Korea and hosted by GomTV and Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty developer Blizzard Entertainment. The tournament is also streamed internationally in English with commentary — like a typical sport. The company also partnered with God’s Garden, a fighting game tournament based in Japan.

The company ran a beta version of the program for around six months before deciding to launch it today. It included the likes of well-known competitive Starcraft player and commentator Day[9], but the company was pretty quiet about the program until July. Then it automatically began moving gaming broadcasters over to Twitch.tv while giving them an option to opt out — though very few actually did so, Justin.tv chief technology officer Emmett Shear told VentureBeat.

“The initial growth of Justin.tv was a bit of a slower curve, it hit this hockey stick growth all of a sudden one day,” Justin.tv chief operating officer Kevin Lin told VentureBeat. “We are on a similar trajectory, growing at tens of percentage points on a month-to-month basis. When we launched the private beta in February we were at 4 million users, and now we’re at 8 million.”

The company is not abandoning Justin.tv even though Twitch.tv has become popular, Lin said. Nearly every broadcaster that has live streams has already migrated over to Twitch.tv, and that has slowed Justin.tv’s growth slightly, Lin said.

“Justin.tv is very important, it’s very successful, I would call it more of a mature product — it’s been around for five years now,” he said. “Justin.tv is holding pretty steady, it’s growing a little bit every month, but in plucking the game content away from Justin.tv, sure Justin.tv is gonna take a traffic hit.”

Justin.tv is working on mobile Twitch.tv applications for the iPhone, iPad and Android, Lin said. Justin.tv already released a mobile app for its main website that proved popular, so the company decided to create a re-branded mobile application that has additional gaming-centric features, Lin said.

“The audience that’s attached to live streaming, they are like mobile experts,” DiPietro said. “The iPhone application for Justin.tv has been hugely successful thanks to that, so we’d like to replicate that success with Twitch.tv.”


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