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Spain’s ‘TheGrefg’ shatters world record for viewers on gamer platform Twitch

The young streamer got more than 2.4 million viewers to follow his presentation of a ‘skin’ for the popular video game ‘Fortnite’

TheGrefg during the streaming session that broke audience records.
TheGrefg during the streaming session that broke audience records.

A young Spaniard named David Cánovas, known on the internet as “TheGrefg,” has broken all world records for a broadcast on Twitch, a live-streaming service owned by Amazon that is popular with gamers.

At 10.40pm on Monday, January 11, after two hours and 39 minutes of streaming content on his channel, the audience was just short of 2.5 million viewers (2,470,347 to be precise) making it the content with the largest audience in the platform’s history. The previous record was set by the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive videogame competition held in January 2018, which attracted an audience of 1.1 million.

TheGrefg, who was born in Murcia in 1997, was presenting his “skin” for Fortnite – the image and dance that he designed under his name for the popular video game developed by Epic Games.

Set up as a platform to stream live videogames, Twitch has evolved in the last year to accommodate more varied content

The audience reached by TheGrefg once again places the Spanish content-creation community at the global forefront of Twitch. On New Year’s Eve, 25-year-old Ibai Llanos from Bilbao broadcast the run-up to midnight for five hours. By midnight, the former e-sports commentator who now streams G2 Esports, had gathered more than 550,000 spectators, surpassing New Year’s Eve coverage by traditional TV channels such as Cuatro and La Sexta, and becoming the third most-watched broadcast in the platform’s history at the time.

In the case of TheGrefg, who had already attracted more than 600,000 spectators during a Fortnite event last year, what was striking about his new feat is that he was able to break the record for viewer ratings using nothing but his own image in front of the camera. It was not a competition, nor did it involve anyone famous, or a stunt like the one Llanos pulled on New Year’s Eve. Wearing a white shirt and a red suit, TheGrefg engaged with an audience that grew to mammoth proportions during his presentation. Twitch’s Spanish community and international players of Fortnite had been encouraging people to watch.

For Fortnite players, the moment of Cánovas’ presentation was a red-letter day. There was a lot of expectation because Epic Games had put off broadcasting the content for a year, building expectation about TheGrefg’s skin, which is now finally available in the videogame store.

Platform of the future

TheGrefg’s record is just one more example of how well Twitch has done during the pandemic. Set up as a platform to stream live videogames, it has evolved in the last year to accommodate more varied content and has become capable of competing with entertainment giants such as Netflix and HBO. According to TwitchMetrics data, during the month of December, users watched more than 10 million hours of content created by Llanos; more than seven million created by AuronPlay (Raúl Álvarez from Badalona in Catalonia); and more than five million hours from other Spanish streamers such as Cánovas himself and Rubius (Rubén Doblas, from Mijas in Málaga). Global consumption has increased year-on-year by nearly 30%, exceeding 1.2 billion hours in total.

A look at the number of celebrities beyond the world of video games who have signed up to Twitch provides an idea of the impact it has today as a form of entertainment. US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the model Laura Escanes, the YouTuber and music producer Jaime Altozano, the Spanish singer Bely Basarte, the comedian Ángel Martín and the science communicator Rocío Vidal have all gained a different audience through live broadcasts, which could involve a game or simply a delivery of their thoughts in front of the camera.

In just two weeks, Spanish streamers have taken the top spots on Twitch. The entire Spanish-speaking community carries even more weight thanks to content creators such as Argentina’s Coscu and PapoMC. TheGrefg’s recent record confirms the platform’s credentials as a rival to Netflix or conventional TV channels.

English version by Heather Galloway.

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