It's an acquisition-hungry week already. Hot on the heels of news that the rumored AT&T/DirecTV buyout is a-go for $50 billion, comes word of yet another acquisition from Google. According to a recently published report in Variety, YouTube will be acquiring the streaming video site Twitch.Tv for $1 billion.
The deal, in an all-cash offer, is expected to be announced imminently, sources said. If completed the acquisition would be the most significant in the history of YouTube, which Google acquired in 2006 for $1.65 billion. The impending acquisition comes after longtime Google ad exec Susan Wojcicki was named CEO of YouTube earlier this year.
San Francisco-based Twitch lets users upload and watch free, live gameplay videos that can be streamed from Microsoft Xbox and PlayStation 4 consoles. The company claims to have more than 45 million monthly users, with more than 1 million members who upload videos each month. It also has deals to distribute shows from partners including CBS Interactive’s GameSpot, Joystiq and Destructoid.
While non-gamers might find it strange that anyone would want to watch somebody else play video games, the market for these videos is immense. Streaming aside, there are some YouTube channels with an avalanche of subscribers that solely specialize in uploading gameplay footage from video games. Notably, the minds behind Twitch are also the minds that launched Just.tv.
Twitch.Tv describes its services thusly:
Twitch is the world's leading video platform and community for gamers with more than 45 million visitors per month. We want to connect gamers around the world by allowing them to broadcast, watch, and chat from everywhere they play.
To further contextualize the massive popularity of Twitch, the service in March of 2014 accounted for 1.35% "of all downstream bandwidth on North American fixed-access broadband networks in March 2014, compared with 0.46% last fall."
And below is a February 2014 chart from the Wall Street Journal which shows that that Twitch, despite its arguable annonymity among the mainstream, is a major player in video streaming, at least when it comes to data throughput.
What's more, it's worth noting that Google's YouTube division wasn't the only suitor for Twitch. Microsoft was reportedly inerested in the service as well, but the folks at Twitch believed that Google was best positioned to take Twitch to the next level and make it the "definitive platform for watching streaming live video gaming."