Just like with most massive events, viewers love having the ability to choose how they watch and consume news and updates surrounding politics, especially when the viewers in question are made up of a younger demographic.
For the 2020 U.S. presidential election, around 50.7 million hours of content was viewed across Twitch and YouTube, which was enough to rival and even surpass all of the major news networks when the numbers are pooled.
Viewers watched 3.4 million hours of election day coverage on Twitch, according to a data report from Streamlabs and Stream Hatchet. Political streamer Hasan “HasanAbi” Piker was the top stream on Twitch throughout this period, peaking at 227,000 viewers and averaging 157,000 viewers.
HasanAbi alone was the sixth most-watched livestream source, sitting behind major news networks like CBS News, Fox, ABC, and NBC at 2.499 million hours watched. NBC led all channels across YouTube and Twitch, peaking at 909,000 viewers and averaging around 284,000.
On Twitch specifically, Hasan’s nearly 2.5 million hours watched made up 74.7 percent of the total hours watched. Tyler “TrainwrecksTV” Niknam was the second most-watched Twitch streamer on election day, hitting 607,000 hours watched and holding 18.2 of the total, with Matthew “Mizkif” Rinaudo taking the third spot at 63,000 hours watched and 1.9 percent of the total for individual streamers.
Hasan also led Twitch coverage for the presidential debate on Oct. 22, bringing in 104,000 hours watched and a peak of 172,000 viewers, setting the stage for this viewership explosion at the apex of the presidential election cycle.
“Over the last few weeks and months, many Twitch streamers shifted their content from video games to presidential debate and election coverage,” said Ashray Urs, head of product at Streamlabs. “In just an hour and a half, viewers on Twitch watched over 305,000 hours of presidential debate coverage. This increased interest in politics was only heightened when U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made her Twitch debut, which quickly became one of the most-watched live streams on the platform, peaking at 435,000 viewers.”
We won’t know whether this is a sign that people are tired of traditional outlets and would rather watch individual coverage from an independent source or that there’s a growing interest in political-related content on Twitch and YouTube livestreams until more data becomes available.