Watch out Pokimane, you're about to face some unexpected competition from Twitch's next breakout star: Bernie Sanders.
Pokimane may have just signed a lucrative exclusivity deal with Twitch, but it looks like she might face some unexpected competition. Over the weekend, Bernie Sanders drew more than 50,000 concurrent viewers on the Amazon-owned streaming service.
In a format that harks back to the famous fireside chats of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Democratic presidential candidate cozied up to a wood stove in his Burlington, Vermont home on Saturday.
But rather than radio, Sanders hopped on Twitch to discuss his vision for the future of the United States and answer questions from viewers.
For 45 minutes, Senator Sanders sat with campaign manager Faiz Shakir, touching on topics such as health care and his live debate with Joe Biden the next day.
Invariably, much of the conversation shifted to the worsening coronavirus situation. Many of the viewer questions related to the pandemic in some form or another.
While politicians (even the U.K. Parliament) are turning to platforms such as Twitch to reach a broader, predominantly younger audience, few live streams have attracted as many fans as Bernie Sanders’ fireside chat.
On Saturday, over 40,000 viewers tuned in to Bernie Sanders’ Twitch channel. Another 10,000 viewers watched via the channel of Hasan Piker, a former Young Turks personality turned Twitch streamer.
The traffic on Sanders’ channel alone launched him to the top of Twitch’s Just Chatting section. And his channel ranked second overall regardless of category. He even bested popular Twitch streamers such as Pokimane and xQc, who regularly pull in tens of thousands of viewers.
The fireside chat was simultaneously broadcast on Twitter and Facebook, among other platforms. Unofficial estimates suggest over 1 million people tuned in across various platforms.
At one point during the stream, Shakir revealed that 100,000 people were watching live. Upon hearing the news, Sanders suggested he could stream on Twitch more often if the coronavirus outbreak forces him to continue cancelling in-person events:
I love doing rallies. We’ve had unbelievably moving town meetings all over this country. But, we can’t do that now, so we’re going to have to figure out a way to substitute that for this campaign. And that we have 100,000 people on already is exciting.
With moves to self-isolate and practice social distancing gathering steam, we’re likely to see Bernie Sanders’ Twitch channel hit these high numbers again in the not too distant future.
So watch out Pokimane, you’re about to face some surprisingly-stiff competition.
Last modified: September 23, 2020 1:40 PM