Surprise: Amazon, Not Google/YouTube, Will Purchase Twitch
How are those unnamed sources working out, Variety?
In May, Variety's New York digital editor Todd Spangler got the online video industry buzzing with a report that Google had reached a preliminary deal to buy gaming network Twitch for over $1 billion. Spangler's unnamed sources said the all-cash deal would be announced shorty.
Perhaps Google got cold feet, or maybe Variety's crystal ball was cloudy that day, because Amazon announced today that it would acquire Twitch for $970 million. At least Variety wasn't too far off on the price, and yes, it's an all-cash deal. The acquisition should close later this year.
Amazon notes that Twitch served over 55 million unique visitors in July, streaming over 15 billion minutes of video.
The deal seemed a natural fit for Google. For Amazon, this seems like a billion-dollar stretch.
“Amazon and Twitch optimize for our customers first and are both believers in the future of gaming,” says Twitch CEO Emmett Shear. “Being part of Amazon will let us do even more for our community. We will be able to create tools and services faster than we could have independently. This change will mean great things for our community, and will let us bring Twitch to even more people around the world.”
Amazon and Twitch both obsess over customers, said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in a statement, although he didn't offer any reasons why Amazon would want to own a gaming network, or how the sale will help either company grow.
As for Variety, it announced "It's Official: Amazon Acquires Twitch for $970 million," as if it has foretold this all along. Editor-in-chief of digital Andrew Wallenstein took offer the assignment, suggesting that the acquisition makes sense because the Fire TV has gaming capabilities. Okay, sure. The Variety crystal ball is in good hands.
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Account holders are given no advanced notice, and are directed to Twitch, YouTube, or competing live video services.
When reports emerged that Google would acquire Twitch for $1 billion, even many in the online video industry hadn't heard of it. How is that possible?