Who Owns Twitch?

In 2014, Twitch was bought by Amazon for $970 million. Therefore Twitch is part of Amazon, comprising other subsidiaries bought over the years, like Audible, Whole Foods, and Zappos (in total, Amazon has 12 subsidiaries). Therefore, as of 2022, Twitch is a multi-billion dollar company, making money primarily via advertising through its video streaming platform (creators use Twitch today across many other verticals).

Products and ServicesTwitch is primarily a live streaming platform for gamers and content creators. It allows users to broadcast and watch live streams of video games, creative content, and other forms of entertainment. It also offers features like chat, subscription options, and virtual currency (Bits) for tipping.Twitch focuses on providing a platform for live content creators, particularly in the gaming and creative fields, with interactive features for engagement.Live gaming streams, Creative streams, Twitch subscriptions, Twitch Bits for donations.
Revenue StreamsTwitch generates revenue through several channels, including advertising, subscriptions, virtual currency (Bits), and partnerships with content creators and game developers.A diverse revenue model allows Twitch to monetize its platform while providing income opportunities for content creators.Advertisements during streams, Twitch Prime subscriptions, revenue sharing with streamers.
Customer SegmentsTwitch caters to a broad audience, including gamers, esports enthusiasts, creative artists, and viewers seeking live entertainment. It also offers a platform for content creators to reach their fan base.A diverse user base and content offering attract a wide range of advertisers and sponsors, contributing to the platform’s success.Gamers, esports fans, artists, musicians, and viewers of various interests.
Distribution ChannelsTwitch primarily operates as an online platform, accessible through web browsers and dedicated apps for various devices (e.g., smartphones, gaming consoles).Being an online platform allows Twitch to reach a global audience, with dedicated apps enhancing user convenience.Twitch website, Twitch mobile app, Twitch on gaming consoles.
Key PartnershipsTwitch partners with game developers, esports organizations, and content creators to promote games and events. It also collaborates with advertisers and sponsors for marketing campaigns.Partnerships with game developers help in game promotion, while content creators drive engagement and viewership. Advertiser collaborations generate revenue.Partnership with Riot Games for League of Legends esports, collaborations with popular streamers.
Key ResourcesTwitch’s key resources include its streaming infrastructure, user base, content creators, technology for live streaming, and the Twitch brand.The infrastructure and technology behind live streaming are crucial for the platform’s functionality and success. A dedicated user base and content creators contribute to its value.Streaming servers, Twitch user community, proprietary live streaming technology.
Cost StructureTwitch incurs costs in maintaining streaming infrastructure, supporting content creators, marketing and advertising, employee salaries, and moderation to ensure a safe community environment.Investment in infrastructure ensures a reliable streaming experience. Support for content creators and moderation are vital for platform integrity.Data center maintenance, content creator partnerships, marketing campaigns.
Competitive AdvantageTwitch’s competitive advantage lies in its early mover status in the game streaming space, a dedicated user community, a strong brand, and features like chat interaction and Bits for user engagement.Being one of the pioneers in game streaming has given Twitch a strong foothold. Interactive features enhance user engagement.Twitch’s dominance in game streaming, TwitchCon events.
Value PropositionTwitch offers a platform for content creators to showcase their skills, entertain, and interact with their audience in real-time. Viewers can engage with their favorite streamers and enjoy a sense of community.Twitch’s value proposition centers on live and interactive entertainment, fostering a sense of community among viewers and content creators.Watching live esports tournaments, engaging with streamers during broadcasts.

Origin Story

How Twitch pivoted from Justin.tv, to become among the most successful streaming services, bought for a billion by Amazon.

Twitch is a North American live streaming service with a focus on esports broadcasting and video game streaming. Twitch was founded as a spin-off to Justin.tv. Founders Justin Kan and Emmett Shear noted that the gaming category on Justin.tv was the most-watched category on the site. 

Three years after Twitch was founded, it was identified as the fourth-largest source of peak internet traffic in the United States. As a result, the parent company of Justin.tv was rebranded as Twitch Interactive and Justin.tv was shut down. 

Twitch Interactive was then acquired by Amazon for $970 million, enabling the platform to become integrated with Amazon Prime.

Twitch continues to dominate the gaming and esports streaming market, boasting over a hundred million actively monthly users. The platform has since expanded to offer creative content, music broadcasts, and affiliate programs for streamers.

To understand Twitch’s origins, it is important to travel back to 2007 when founders Justin Kan and Emmett Shear launched the video broadcast service Justin.tv. The first broadcast showed Kan as he went about his daily life and in 2008, the platform was divided into several categories such as Music & Radio, News & Tech, Animals, Sports, and Entertainment.

Over the next four years, Justin.tv became popular thanks to hordes of users who illegally streamed sports matches and other copyrighted content. When the practice was eventually outlawed, it left Kan and Shear with business whose major drawcard had been surrendered almost overnight.

Pivot to gaming

Around 2011, the Justin.tv co-founders had a stagnant business with no real purpose.

However, the lawless nature of the platform and the freedom it afforded users had resulted in the formation of a passionate video game streaming niche.

The platform’s recent release as an app also resulted in an additional two million users.

But how to monetize the platform itself?

At the time, Kan disliked the niche because it required a lot of bandwidth and he didn’t understand why users would want to spend their time watching others play video games.

But irrespective of Kan’s grievances, traffic data suggested this was exactly what Justin.tv users were doing.

Emmett Shear, himself a gamer, noted that with some added features and embedded advertising, the niche had the potential to become profitable.


The video game category from Justin.tv was then spun out to a new site called Twitch in June 2011.

Twitch was so popular three years later that the entire company became known as Twitch Interactive and the Justin.tv brand was formally retired soon after.

Amazon purchased Twitch in August 2014 for $970 million in cash

Former Justin.tv COO Justin Lin also stressed that community input has been vital in the development of the new platform’s functionality and features. In essence, the development’s focus was on tools that could enable games to become professionals in their sport. 

At the time, the deal was the largest in Amazon’s two-decade history and enabled it to benefit from the rapid growth in the gaming industry alongside Apple and Google.

The Evolution of Twitch

  • Origins and Spin-Off: Twitch was founded as a spin-off to Justin.tv, a video broadcast service, in response to the gaming category becoming the most-watched on the platform.
  • Growth and Rebranding: Within three years, Twitch became the fourth-largest source of peak internet traffic in the US, leading to the rebranding of the parent company as Twitch Interactive and the shutdown of Justin.tv.
  • Acquisition by Amazon: In 2014, Amazon acquired Twitch for $970 million, integrating the platform with Amazon Prime, making it a part of Amazon’s growing portfolio of subsidiaries.
  • Dominance in Streaming Market: Twitch has emerged as a dominant player in the gaming and esports streaming market, with over a hundred million monthly active users.
  • Diversification: Beyond gaming, Twitch expanded its content offerings to include creative content, music broadcasts, and affiliate programs for streamers.
  • Monetization and Pivot: Initially skeptical about video game streaming, the founders recognized the potential for profitability with added features and embedded advertising, leading to the spin-off of Twitch as a separate platform.
  • Amazon’s Strategic Move: Amazon’s acquisition of Twitch in 2014 marked the company’s entry into the gaming industry, positioning itself alongside other tech giants like Apple and Google to benefit from the rapid growth in gaming.
  • Community-Driven Development: Community input played a vital role in shaping Twitch’s functionality and features, focusing on tools to support gaming professionals and enhance the user experience.
  • Integration with Amazon Prime: As part of Amazon, Twitch became integrated with Amazon Prime, leveraging its existing user base to further expand its reach and impact in the streaming market.
  • Multi-Billion Dollar Company: As of 2022, Twitch has become a multi-billion dollar company, generating significant revenue primarily through advertising on its video streaming platform, which now caters to various content verticals beyond gaming.

Twitch’s Evolution Highlights:

  • Origins: Twitch originated as a spin-off from Justin.tv, a general-purpose live streaming platform.
  • Recognizing Potential: Despite the diverse range of content on Justin.tv, gaming emerged as the most popular category, catching the founders’ attention.
  • Growth: By 2014, Twitch had grown so popular that it became the fourth-largest source of peak internet traffic in the U.S.
  • Rebranding: Given the platform’s success, the parent company was renamed Twitch Interactive, and the original Justin.tv was eventually shut down.
  • Amazon’s Acquisition: In a significant move, Amazon acquired Twitch for $970 million in 2014, marking its foray into the booming live streaming and gaming industry.
  • Expansion Beyond Gaming: While gaming remains at its core, Twitch has diversified its content over the years, now including creative content, music broadcasts, and more.
  • Community Engagement: Twitch has always emphasized community input, enabling features that allow gamers to turn professional and enhance viewer interaction.
  • Integration with Amazon Prime: Post-acquisition, Twitch was integrated with Amazon Prime, offering benefits for Prime members and increasing its user base.
  • Monetization: Twitch has a robust monetization model, primarily relying on advertising, subscriber contributions, and affiliate programs.
  • Current Status: Today, Twitch stands as a multi-billion dollar company under Amazon’s umbrella, remaining a dominant force in live streaming and esports broadcasting.

Connected Business Concepts

EA Sports Business Model

EA Sports is among the largest gaming publishers, with a hybrid strategy of fully-owned games and licensed games distributed with a cross-platform approach. FIFA is the game that most contributes to its revenues and live services (Ultimate Team in particular) are the largest revenue contributors to EA revenues.

Gaming Industry

The gaming industry, part of the entertainment industry, is comprised of three main types of players. From game engines, which help developers build their games. To publishing gaming houses. And gaming consoles. While the prevailing business model for decades has been that of selling the console at cost, and make money on games. Digital games changed the way games are distributed and sold, and it opened up the way to free-to-play models.

Roblox Business Model

Roblox is an online gaming platform where users can create avatars and explore various gaming experiences. Each experience will be monetized based on how its developer has structured the game. For instance, free games allow users to spend the platform’s currency, called Robux, to get specific enhancements or purchase items like clothing accessories for the avatars, simulated gestures from the Roblox Avatar Marketplace. Therefore, Roblox makes money by earning a commission on each transaction and through its internal ad network.


Tencent is a Chinese multinational conglomerate founded in 1998 by Ma Huateng, Zhang Zhidong, and Xu Chenye. Among its various global subsidiaries are companies in the online services, music, and artificial intelligence industries. But it is perhaps best known for its interest in the video game sector – both as a game developer for the Chinese market and the acquirer of several established gaming companies. Tencent is a vast company with a stake in more than 600 companies. Following is a look at some of the companies and subsidiaries it has a majority stake in.

Epic Games Business Model

Epic Games is a gaming company, that develops, publishes, and distributes games. It comprises the Unreal Engine, making money through licensing agreements with developers and creators. Its games (like Fortnite) mostly follow a free-to-play model on PC and an in-app purchase model on the digital marketplace. And its storefront Epic Games Store, taking a 12% cut on games’ sales.

Free-To Play Business Model

A free-to-play is a model that became particularly popular in gaming. Free-to-play is also commonly referred to as free-to-start. For instance, companies like Epic Games have launched popular games like Fortnite’s Battle Royale, which had ingrained a free-to-play model. This is a model that become extremely popular in the digital age of gaming.

Play-To-Earn Business Model

The play-to-earn model is a business model allowing gamers to farm or collect cryptocurrency and NFTs that can be sold on the market. This model has become a standard already in the “crypto gaming industry,” where the blockchain-based games enable token economics to kick in as an incentives mechanism at scale for users to play and be engaged.

How Does Candy Crush Make Money?

Candy Crush Saga is a match-three puzzle video game developed and published by King, a company specializing in social network-based games. Businessman Riccardo Zacconi co-founded King in 2003 after selling a subscription dating service he had also founded several years previous. The initial source of income for King was advertising revenue, but this strategy was abandoned in 2013. Today, Candy Crush Saga uses the freemium model (free to play) of revenue generation.

Related Tech Ownership Case Studies

Who Owns OpenAI

OpenAI is an artificial intelligence research laboratory that transitioned into a for-profit organization in 2019, which comprised an entity called OpenAI LP and the non-profit parent foundation OpenAI. The lab, which was founded in 2015 by Elon Musk, Sam Altman, and various others, has a core focus on the development of friendly AI that benefits society as a whole. Yet now has primarily evolved as a capped-for-profit entity with an exclusive commercial license to Microsoft.

Who Owns Airbnb

Its co-founders primarily own Airbnb: Brian Chesky, with 76,407,686 Class B shares, which gives him 29.1% of ownership; Nathan Blecharczyk, with 232,306 Class A and 64,646,713 Class B, which give him 25.3%; and Joe Gebbia, which has 5,113,865 Class A and 58,023,452 Class B, which give him 22.9% ownership.

Who Owns Google

Google is primarily owned by its founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who have more than 51% voting power. Other individual shareholders comprise John Doerr (1.5%), a venture capitalist and early investor in Google, and CEO, Sundar Pichai. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has 4.2% voting power. The most prominent institutional shareholders are mutual funds BlackRock and The Vanguard Group, with 2.7% and 3.1%, respectively.

Who Owns Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg is the largest shareholder in the company. Zuckerberg retains ownership and control of the company. Like Google, Facebook has issued two common stocks, Class A and Class B. The holders of Class B common stocks are entitled to ten votes per share, and holders of our Class A common stocks are entitled to one vote per share. Mark Zuckerberg has a voting power of 56.9%; he’s the primary decision-maker. Other individual investors comprise Sheryl Sandberg, Christopher Cox, Marc Andreessen, Peter Thiel, Dustin Moskovitz, and Eduardo Saverin.

Who Owns Apple

As of 2023, major Apple shareholders comprised Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway with 5.73% of the company’s stock (valued at over $130 billion). Followed by other individual shareholders like Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, with about 3.3 million shares, Artur Levinson, chairman of Apple, with over 4.5 million shares, and others.

Who Owns Amazon

With 64,588,418 shares, Jeff Bezos is the major individual investor. Owning 12.7% of the company. Other top individual investors comprise Amazon’s CEO Andy Jessy, with 94,729 shares. Top institutional investors include mutual funds like The Vanguard Group (6.6% ownership) and BlackRock (5.7% ownership). 

Who Owns Microsoft

Major shareholders comprise co-founder Bill Gates, who stepped down from the company’s board in 2020, which is why these shares are no longer publicly reported. In 2019, Gates still owned a stake of 103 million stocks, which accounted for 1.34% of the company’s ownership (worth over $23 billion in January 2023). Other individual shareholders comprise Satya Nadella, the company’s CEO, Brad Smith (former president), Jean-Philippe Courtois (EVP), and Amy Hood (former CFO).

Who Owns Tesla

By 2022, most of Tesla’s shares are still owned by Elon Musk, among the company’s co-founders and the CEO. Elon Musk is the top individual investor, with a 23.5% stake in the company, equivalent to over 244 million shares. Musk is followed by Lawrence Ellison (founder of Oracle), with a 1.5% company stake. Ellison also sits on Tesla’s board. And Antonio Gracias, among the company’s first investors, has over 1.6 million shares. Other institutional investors and mutual funds like The Vanguard Group (6%), Blackrock (5.1%), and Capital Ventures International also have a good chunk of the company’s stocks.

Who Owns PayPal

PayPal was first founded in 1998; it was called Confinity (among its founders was Peter Thiel); later, it merged with X.com, its major competitor, founded by Elon Musk (which would become known for other companies like Tesla and SpaceX). From this merger, PayPal was born. In 2002, PayPal was bought by eBay for $1.5 billion. eBay spun off PayPal in 2015, which would be listed as an independent entity. Today PayPal owns brands like Braintree, Venmo, Xoom, and iZettle.

Who Owns Netflix

Netflix’s largest individual shareholder is Reed Hastings, co-founder, and former CEO of the company, now Chairperson of Netflix, with a 1.7% stake, valued at over $2.4 billion in February 2023. Other significant individual shareholders comprise Jay C. Hoag, the company’s directors since 1999, and Ted Sarandos, former chief content officer and now Chief Executive Officer of Netflix. Major institutional shareholders comprise The Vanguard Group (7.55% ownership), BlackRock (6.58% ownership), and Capital Research Global Investments (5.84% ownership).

Who Owns TikTok

TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese internet technology company owning several content platforms worldwide (Douyin, Toutiao, Xigua Video, Helo, Lark, Babe). Bytedance passed the $300 billion private market valuation by 2022, making around $58 billion in revenue in 2022, over $4 billion from TikTok.

Who Owns YouTube

Acquired by Google, in 2006, for $1.65 billion, YouTube is now worth many times over. In 2022, YouTube generated over $29 billion in revenue from advertising alone. YouTube is part of Google (now named Alphabet), and as such, it is owned by main Google’s Alphabet shareholders and is one of the fastest-growing segments for the company.

Who Owns Twitter

As of April 25th, 2022, Elon Musk tried to take over Twitter. Musk tried to purchase the company at $54.20 per share, or about $44 billion. The deal finally closed by October 27th, 2022, and Elon Musk became the largest shareholder.

Who Owns Spotify

The multi-billion music streaming company Spotify is primarily owned by its founders, Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon. As of 2023, Daniel Ek has 16.5% ownership of ordinary shares and 31.7% of the voting power. Martin Lorentzon has 10.9% of ordinary shares and 42.6% of the voting power. Another key shareholder is Baillie Gifford & Co, a Scottish-based money management firm, followed by Morgan Stanley, T. Rowe Price, and Tencent.

Who Owns Nvidia

The top individual shareholder of NVIDIA is Jen-Hsun Huang, founder, and CEO of the company, with 87,521,722 shares giving him 3.50% ownership. Followed by Mark A. Stevens, venture capitalist and a partner at S-Cubed Capital, who was part of the NVIDIA board in 2008 and previously served as a director from 1993 to 2006, with 6,258,803 shares. Institutional investors comprise The Vanguard Group, Inc, with 196,015,550, owning 7.83%. BlackRock, Inc., with 177,858,484, owns 7.10%. And FMR LLC (Fidelity Institutional Asset Management) with 158,039,922, owning 6.31%.

Who Owns Uber

Uber’s principal individual shareholders comprise Yasir Al-Rumayyan (3.73%), the Governor of the Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Dara Khosrowshahi, the founder and CEO of Uber. There is Morgan Stanley, with 5.12% ownership among the top institutional investors.

Who Owns Shopify

The founder and CEO of Shopify, Tobias Lütke, owned or controlled 7,891,852 Class B multiple voting shares and 5,250 Class A subordinate voting shares, representing approximately 33.8% of the aggregate voting power attached to all of the Company’s outstanding voting shares. Another key stakeholder is John H. Phillips, an angel investor who placed an early bet on Shopify.

Who Owns Roblox

Roblox is owned by David Baszucki and Gregory Baszucki, with a 2.3% and 2.6% stake, respectively. Anthony lee, managing partner at Altos Ventures, with a 15.3% stake.

Who Owns Twitch

In 2014, Twitch was bought by Amazon for $970 million. Therefore Twitch is part of Amazon, comprising other subsidiaries bought over the years, like Audible, Whole Foods, and Zappos (in total, Amazon has 12 subsidiaries). Therefore, as of 2020, Twitch is a multi-billion dollar company, making money primarily via advertising through its video streaming platform (creators use Twitch today across many other verticals).

Who Owns Zoom

Zoom’s principal private shareholders comprise Eric S. Yuan, a Chinese-American billionaire businessman that founded Zoom. Dan Scheinman, board member and angel investor in Zoom since the start, and Santiago Subotovsky, also an early investor in Zoom. Zoom follows a freeterprise business model where free accounts are channeled into enterprise customers.

Who Owns Activision

In one of the largest deals in the business world, Microsoft acquired Activision Blizzard in a $68.7 billion transaction. Making Microsoft the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony. However, given the size of the deal, this is still under the scrutiny of regulators who need to approve it. If the deal goes through, Microsoft will become among the largest gaming companies in the world.

Who Owns Pixar

Pixar is owned by The Walt Disney Company, which acquired it in 2006 in a $7.4 billion deal. Today Pixar is part of the Disney Empire. The principal shareholders of Disney comprise Robert Iger, CEO of the company, and institutional investors like The Vanguard Group and Blackrock.

Who Owns Salesforce

Marc Benioff, Co-CEO of Salesforce, is the primary individual shareholder, with 3% of the company’s stock. Other main individual shareholders comprise Parker Harris, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, and Bret Taylor, former co-CEO. Major institutional shareholders include The Vanguard Group, Fidelity, and BlackRock.

Who Owns Slack

In a $27.7 billion deal in 2021, Salesforce’s finalized the acquisition of Slack, which was integrated into Salesforce. Today Slack is still a product mostly independently managed by Salesforce, which incorporated some of its features within its platform. Entrepreneur Marc Benioff primarily owns salesforce.

Who Owns Snapchat

Evan Spiegel and Robert Cornelius Murphy are the co-founders and, respectively, CEO and CTO of Snapchat. Evan Spiegel owns 3% of Class A stocks, 25.7% of Class B stocks, and 53.4% of Class C stocks for a 53.2% voting power, whereas Robert Murphy owns 6% of Class A stocks, 25.7% of Class B stocks, and 46.6% of Class C stocks for a 46.6% voting power. Snapchat runs an advertising-based business model.

Who Owns Coinbase

Main individual shareholders comprise co-founders Brian Armstrong (59.5% voting power), Frederick Ernest Ehrsam (26.1% voting power), and other individual investors such as Surojit Chatterjee (current CPO “poached” from Google), Paul Grewal (former magistrate who joined Coinbase as Chief Legal Officer), and venture capitalists who early on invested on Coinbase, like Marc Andreessen (founder of a16z) and Fred Wilson (founder of Union Square Ventures), together with venture capital firms like Andreessen Horowitz, Paradigm, Ribbit Capital and Union Square Ventures.

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