How Shroud’s Strong Start on Twitch in 2019 Compares to Ninja’s Record Breaking 2018

Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek is no stranger to being one of the top personalities on Twitch Database-Link-e1521645463907, but as Apex Legends has made its rapid ascent to the top of the platform, a dominant amount of viewership has followed him.

In 2018, Fortnite’s Database-Link-e1521645463907 meteoric rise was leveraged by the quirky, spiky-haired personality of Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, who used celebrities and event-based activations to mobilize viewers and reach audience figures never before seen on Twitch.

However, after Apex Legends broke out in February, Grzesiek, for a short time, showed the potential to compete with Blevins’ 200M+ hours watched from last year. With 15M hours watched in February (the shortest month of the year), Grzesiek didn’t need to show much more growth over the course of the year to make a push towards joining Blevins in the 200M club.

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Though 15M hours watched in February isn’t quite as strong as the monthly average that Blevins put forth in 2018, his success on Twitch wasn’t perfectly spread out throughout the entire year. His rise came right around March when he streamed with popular rapper Drake and from there, his stream grew with the help of highly promoted events and a hefty broadcast schedule filled with Fortnite. As the year wore on, Blevins’ viewership tapered to some degree as the Fortnite craze seemed to wane.

Grzesiek took a different approach last year. While 219.6M hours of Blevins’ 227.5M hours watched total for 2018 was from Fortnite, Grzesiek liked to play a variety of games. His 97.9M hours watched total was second among personality streamers and was comprised of numerous games, and the most played game, PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS Database-Link-e1521645463907, accounted for less than half of his total at 39.6M hours watched.

Last year, Grzesiek spent more than 100 hours of broadcast time on five different games. Blevins second most-played game on stream after Fortnite, Call of Duty Database-Link-e1521645463907, was only aired for 73 hours.

While Blevins leveraged the successes of Fortnite as much as possible to achieve the maximum amount of success, Grzesiek didn’t allow himself to be married any one title. However, when Apex Legends came out, a new opportunity was presented to Grzesiek.

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Because of Grzesiek’s popularity as a talented gamer at first-person shooters and battle royale games, his stream blew up in a way that it never has once Apex Legends was released. Grzesiek made his way on Twitch due to his time as a professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player combined with his skill and personality streaming of PUBG while it was Twitch’s most popular game. So once a new battle royale title came out, it was almost a given that avid gaming fans were going to tune in to see him try it out.

Since he began streaming Apex Legends, Grzesiek has been the most-watched personality on Twitch by a large margin averaging 64K concurrent viewers and racking up 18.6M hours watched, 17.4M on Apex Legends. For comparison, Blevins’ average CCV for the entirety of 2018 was 73K.

Keep It Fresh

How did Blevins manage to pull his CCV up outside of simply playing with celebrities like Drake though? Not only did Blevins spend 2018 streaming a massive number of hours, but in order to keep things fresh, he also mobilized his audience by doing special events like the Rise Til Dawn tournament with Red Bull, his own New Year’s Eve party in Times Square, and gaming at Lollapolooza.

Blevins’ New Year’s Eve stream from Times Square, with the help of Red Bull as an organizer, accumulated 1.17M hours watched with a peak of 262.73K CCV. While his viewership over the course of the year was past its peak, he still managed to put together an event that produced one of his top five single sessions of the year.

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Additionally, Epic Games constantly looks to keep things fresh in Fortnite with special in-game events that have become a regular “must watch” on Twitch. Not only do fans feel the need to experience these in-game spectacles, but they also tend to prefer to do so while watching someone like Blevins reacting in real-time.

Though Electronic Arts has given no indication that it plans to have the same level of fanciful in-game activations, the youth of the game leaves the door open for it to provide that sort of refreshing vibe for streamers like Grzesiek who need to find a way to maintain viewers.

To date, Grzesiek hasn’t been a big proponent of doing large scale events in the way that Blevins has on a semi-regular basis, but he still has managed to put together a sponsorship portfolio that rivals that of 2018’s most-watched streamer. Grzesiek has deals with Madrinas Coffee, food delivery service Postmates, and headphone maker HyperX Database-Link-e1521645463907. Blevins works with Red Bull, Uber Eats, and PSD Underwear.

However, a notable difference between the two has been Blevins’ uncanny ability to constantly come up with unique ways to engage his audience with events that almost seem larger than Twitch. By bringing in A-list celebrities to stream with and organizing broadcasts from major popular culture events, Blevins has been able to reel in viewers that might not even be particularly interested in him or Fortnite, for that matter.

While Grzesiek currently shows the potential to be the Blevins of 2019, there’s a lot that goes into racking up 200M hours watched on Twitch in a year, and with a little more than nine months left, it’s too soon to say if Grzesiek can push the envelope enough to match Blevins’ achievements from 2018.


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