Why Google Wants to Get Hitched With Twitch

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Emmett Shear may shortly be a very rich man. If the media buzz about Google's (GOOG) (GOOGL) plan to buy out live-streaming site Twitch for a rumored $1 billion is on the money, the founder-CEO of the three-year-old start-up just made it big.

Google is eyeing Twitch because of its huge popularity in the area of live streaming content -- especially video gameplay, a strong and growing niche. YouTube might rule the social video scene, but this is an opportunity to boost both its own live streaming service, as well as eliminate the competition, all in one stroke.

The deal is at an early stage, with both companies avoiding formal comment. But Twitch has been attracting the interest of myriad suitors, including Microsoft (MSFT) for some time now. Microsoft's Xbox, apart from Sony's (SNE) PlayStation have both partnered with Twitch to allow their users to broadcast their video game sessions on the Web site.

Twitch's popularity has led to it racking up some impressive growth numbers. It had 45 million unique monthly visitors in one month alone, and accounted for 44% of all U.S. live-streaming traffic during peak days. It's also been picking up awards along the way.

Twitch users tend to be hardcore gaming buffs who spend long periods of time watching content, as opposed to YouTube users who typically watch shorter chunks of content. Advertisers, especially those willing to pay for premium ads, are much more likely to pay top dollar for Twitch's levels of user engagement than YouTube's.

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