Social motivations of live-streaming viewer engagement on Twitch

Zorah Hilvert-Bruce, James T. Neill, Max Sjöblom, Juho Hamari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

477 Citations (Scopus)


Little is known about the motivations underlying viewer engagement in the rapidly growing live-streaming multimedia phenomenon. This study trialled an eight-factor socio-motivational model, based on Uses and Gratifications Theory, to explain four aspects of live-stream viewer engagement. Cross-sectional data was collected through an international, online self-report survey of Twitch users (N = 2227). Multiple and ordinal linear regression analyses identified six motivations which helped to explain live-stream engagement: social interaction, sense of community, meeting new people, entertainment, information seeking, and a lack of external support in real life. Compared to mass media, viewer motivations to engage in live-stream entertainment appear to have a stronger social and community basis. Furthermore, live-stream viewers who preferred smaller channels (<500 viewers) were more motivated by social engagement than viewers who preferred larger channels. These findings offer insight into the motivations for live-stream engagement, and help to lay a foundation for further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-67
Number of pages10
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


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