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Google acquires videogame broadcaster Twitch for $1 billion

MUMBAI: In a deal valued at $1 billion in cash, web giant Google has acquired videogame broadcasting company Twitch, in order to enhance its video service YouTube.

With Twitch on its side, YouTube can now extend live streaming to other categories that focus on the male-oriented videogame segment. YouTube’s own efforts to introduce live broadcasting have had limited success until now.

Twitch claims to have over 50 million monthly users, including over 1.1 million who broadcast their gaming activity, and has over 4,000 content provider partners including major sites like GameSpot and Joystiq with whom it typically shares ad revenue.

Twitch has so far successfully fended off a competitive challenge from YouTube, which reportedly had a net revenue of $1.5 billion in 2013 and is now run by former Google ad/commerce product chief Susan Wojcicki.

San Francisco-based Twitch was created by the founders of Justin.tv, Justin Kan and Emmett Shear. Justin.tv is a website designed for users to ‘lifecast’ themselves with online video.

Privately-held Twitch raised about $35 million in funding from investors like Bessemer Venture Partners, Alsop Louie Partners, WestSummit Capital, Take-Two Interactive Software, Thrive Capital and Draper Associates. Twitch Interactive, which includes Justin.tv, has about 130 employees.