On Monday, January 11th, TheGrefG, a popular Spanish-speaking streamer and owner of esports organization Team Heretics, went live on Twitch. In the matter of about two hours he broke almost every record on the platform. As the streamer announced a new Fortnite skin based on himself, and on DragonBall Z, viewers turned out in waves, first he passed one million concurrents, shortly afterwards he reached two million.
The final peak was 2.47 million concurrent viewers. Normally, Twitch records are separated into two categories, event-based channels and individual channels. It’s hard to put Shroud up against League of Legends Worlds. In general, events receive more viewership on one channel than streamers – at least prior to this stream.
Riot Games held the individual Twitch record for most concurrent viewers in one stream with 1.7 million. Riot actually hit the mark twice, once with League of Legends and once with Valorant. One important note is that Twitch is not available in China, Riot Game’s actual Nielsen-backed viewership for Worlds has an average minute audience of over 20 million.
So TheGrefG didn’t pass Worlds viewership entirely, just the section of it on Twitch. Regardless, it’s still a massive accomplishment, especially when compared to the individual streaming record on Twitch. That record actually already belonged to TheGrefG who, just last month, barely edged out Ninja’s 635,000 viewer stream with Drake in 2018.
In 2020, a few other individual streams have come close to that mark. TheGrefG reached 500,000 viewers two other times and another Spanish streamer Ibai also reached that mark. On the English side of Twitch, Shroud’s return to the site in August crossed 500,000 and politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez playing Among Us nearly reached 500,000.
TheGrefG woke up one Monday in January and just decided to smash the record by four times the peak viewership. If it sounds insane, it’s because it is. And this isn’t the only time the Spanish streaming audience has shown just how powerful they are. Rubiu5, another massive channel, once reached a peak concurrent viewership of 1.1 million, but he accomplished the feat on YouTube Live.
Rubiu5 stream actually took place just about a week after Ninja streamed with Drake. To reach the one million mark, he brought together 99 other popular YouTubers for an insane battle royale match at the height of Fortnite’s popularity. For theGrefG, it was just him, a new Fortnite skin, and an audience larger than most cities.
How Twitch Traffic Breaks Down by The Numbers
On Twitter, Rod “Slasher” Breslau worked with StreamHatchet to put together an infographic showing the top 15 streams by viewership across YouTube and Twitch.
First, it highlights the absurdity of what theGrefG just pulled off. Second, it shows the continued success of Spanish streamers. Eight out of the fifteen entries are by Spanish streamers. Third, it shows that YouTube Live is working towards being on equal footing with Twitch when it comes to commanding massive audiences, eight of the fifteen entries happened on YouTube. And fourth, TheGrefG appears four times, the only streamer to appear on the list more than once, showing that the streamer has a talent for catching lightning in a bottle, over and over again.
So how do Spanish streamers seem to have a much larger potential audience? Purely taking the streaming numbers doesn’t make it clear. In 2020, English streams made up about 57% of all streams on Twitch. Spanish streams were second with just under 10% of all total streams. So the first takeaway could be that there are less Spanish streams, so the audience ends up more centralized. That does seem to be the case, but not to a drastic enough degree to account for these massive streams.
The average number of viewers of English streamers was about 1.5 million people spread out among 55,000 channels on average. For Spanish streamers, those numbers were 350,000 viewers across 10,800 channels. Some simple division and we get the average viewers for an English speaking streamer were 27 over the last seven days, while the average viewers for a Spanish speaking streamer were 35 over the same time period. This data is provided by TwitchTracker.com, I reached out for the same stats over a longer period but haven’t heard back as of publishing.
When looking at language stats, however, there’s a key takeaway that is important. While English is the most overall spoken language in the world with over 1.26 billion people in 2019, English is the third most natively spoken language. In that category, the leader is Mandarin and second is Spanish.
Spanish has about 80 million more native speakers than English. Most people are going to choose to watch casual entertainment in their native language, not their second language when given the choice. As we mention these numbers, it’s important to also note that streams on Chinese platforms Douyu and Huya can fairly regularly crack one million peak concurrent viewers. That’ll happen when there are nearly one billion native Mandarin speakers in China.
I’m not taking anything away from the success of theGrefG but, unlike streams in the past, this felt like a relatively small event to coalesce around. While the record looks untouchable now, and maybe the bump it received from Covid keeps it there, in time streams that top one million concurrents are going to become more and more commonplace. TheGrefG is just ahead of his time.