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In just one year on Twitch, the “Just Chatting” category has helped to evolve the way that broadcasters approach content creation on the platform.
Just Chatting was created at the end of September 2018 as a spinoff from a larger category called “IRL,” meaning “in real life.” As a way to help influencers categorize their non-gaming activities more specifically, Twitch got rid of the “IRL” category and replaced it with more than 10 new types of content.
However, from its onset, Just Chatting has stood out as the category influencers use to stream most of their content outside of specific games, and the resulting growth of Just Chatting has it on pace to post more hours watched than Twitch’s most-watched game in 2018, Fortnite.
In its first full year of existence on Twitch, Just Chatting accrued 1.11B hours watched from Sept. 28, 2018 – Sept. 28, 2019. For comparison, Fortnite led all forms of content in 2018 with 1.05B hours watched on Twitch.
The explosion of Just Chatting in the span of just a year isn’t something that’s going to die down either. While the amount of growth the category experiences could be variable, the core of its success stems from growth by broadcasters.
In the past, Twitch was known primarily as a way for viewers to watch and interact with individuals who were playing a specific video game in a particularly skillful or entertaining way, but as the platform expands, so do the broadcasters on it.
Influencers on Twitch have begun to realize that their communities are interested in more than just their gameplay. Fans want to interact with a streamer, and they don’t always need a video game to be the method used to entertain them.
After Twitch expanded its IRL category, Just Chatting grew in ways that IRL never did. In its last full year before being spun off, IRL had 696.75M hours watched, and while it experienced a large amount of growth in 2018 right before being replaced, Just Chatting took viewership for influencer-based content to the next level.
So far in 2019, Just Chatting is not only the most-watched form of content, but the second most-watched form of content, League of Legends, isn’t even close to matching the hours watched total of Just Chatting.
With 944.41M hours watched from Jan. 1-Oct. 10, Just Chatting has an advantage of more than 200M hours watched over LoL, which has 702.36M hours watched so far this year. Meanwhile, Fortnite, which was the most-watched content last year, has 660.94M hours watched.
For comparison’s sake, last year, the combination of IRL (567.13M) and Just Chatting (212.16) had 779.29M hours watched for the entirety of 2018, putting the collective unit of non-gaming categories in the yearly top 10 behind both LoL (831M) and Fortnite (1.05B).
It’s unfair to say that IRL couldn’t have grown the way that Just Chatting has in the past year, but instead the expanded viewership for influencer-driven content that isn’t tied to a specific game on Twitch signifies maturation by streamers as brand owners.
Top streamers in the “Just Chatting” category like Tim “TimTheTatman” Betar and Félix “xQc” Lengyel have developed their following on Twitch through playing a multitude of games. For instance, Betar has had multiple stretches during his Twitch career in which he’s seen his viewership grow by playing a specific game.
At first, Betar’s stream grew from playing a lot of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and then he transitioned to Overwatch where he began to find more success. Now he primarily plays Fortnite and occasionally dabbles in World of Warcraft.
As his viewership has grown, many of the people who watch him regularly don’t necessarily come to watch his gameplay in a specific game. They’re coming to watch him as an entertainer. While the game that he plays can help him reel in new viewers, a big part of what makes him successful is that when a new game comes out, there is a slew of people who want to see Betar play whatever is trending.
With that in mind, having segments of his stream that are dedicated to interacting with his audience in the form of “Just Chatting” help influencers like Betar to retain viewers. While some people might prefer a game that Betar doesn’t currently play, Betar can keep those viewers watching him on a daily basis by taking time out of his stream to “Just Chat” with his audience and participate in entertaining banter.
As more broadcasters continue to emulate top influential streamers, the growth of Just Chatting on Twitch is seen as a way for people to grow their personal brand. Though many people, like Betar, don’t spend all of their time playing one particular game, top broadcasters are more consistently making an effort to connect with their audience outside of just gaming.
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