Azubu Expands Esports Presence By Acquiring Live-Streaming Platform Hitbox

Azubu acquires Hitbox
The streaming company Azubu is on the way to acquiring its European rival Hitbox.

In a deal supposedly worth tens of millions, the California-based esports broadcasting company plans to expand its presence in the esports industry to reach more fans around the world.

Synergy between companies create more opportunities

The Vienna-based Hitbox, a platform that was launched in September 2013, grew its community to millions of dedicated fans. Those users are mostly spread across Europe.

With its low operating costs and internally developed software, the company created an industry-leading platform for streaming services. Through this acquisition, Azubu aims to combine the strengths of both companies to increase its presence in the growing industry of competitive gaming.

“We’re incredibly excited to welcome the talented Hitbox team into the Azubu esports family,” said Azubu CEO Mike McGarvey in a statement. “Over the years, [CEO Martin Klimscha’s] team at Hitbox has designed and developed industry-leading esports streaming and platform technology while developing a passionate and dedicated following of millions of competitive gaming enthusiasts. The synergies between our respective companies created a compelling opportunity to join forces and I couldn’t be more excited about leading both teams moving forward.

Azubu is on the move in other ways

Azubu isn’t new to making moves in the esports streaming industry. The company successfully raised close to $60 million at the end of 2015 to expand its business. Additionally, a partnership with ESL was announced in the first quarter of 2016 that added Azubu to ESL’s roster of streaming partners. This secured Azubu exclusive content and marketing collaborations, such as licensing, distribution, and sales representation.

The growing esports industry, which generated almost $1 billion in revenue and attracted more than 200 millions of fans in 2016, shows no signs of slowing down.

Attracting the millennial demographic is optimal for streaming companies like Azubu. And with the amount of esports events year-over-year increasing, broadcasting companies will have more business through added content.

“We’re excited by the prospect of extending our global reach with Azubu while integrating with their industry-leading mobile and monetization technologies,” said Klimscha in a statement. “Having built an ever-increasing base of avid Hitbox fans over the years, we’re excited to leverage our combined strength to create an even better experience for our viewers and broadcasters through 2017 and beyond.”

After the acquisition, the Azubu-Hitbox merger will give birth to the biggest independent broadcasting company in the industry, with 20 million in peak monthly active users.

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“Our plan is to re-launch the integrated Azubu-Hitbox platform and brand in early 2017,” McGarvey said. “We’re set to generate new and original content deals while harvesting additional revenue and monetization opportunities – from interactive advertising overlays and virtual goods sales to in-game betting and wagering in allowable markets—throughout the remainder of 2017.”

Future is bright, but the competition does not sleep

While Azubu will surely gain some market share with the acquisition, future success is far from assured. Even though the market should grow bigger, other competitors in the sector are not resting. And there are quite a few of them.

Twitch, the largest service provider in the business, is consistently expanding its reach through various partnerships and acquisitions. DouyuTV and PandaTV, two of the most popular platforms in the Asia, are also examples of potential competition. DouyouTV has recently received fresh funds to expand its business. Facebook and Google (via YouTube) also joined the fray recently with their respective streaming services.

Expect more action from the streaming industry in the near future.

Dejan Zalik

About

Dejan has been involved in gaming for over 10 years. Moving from classics like Diablo 2, Lineage 2, and Warcraft 3, he found his passion in Dota 2, which he’s been playing ever since. He also likes to keep up to date by reading and writing about whatever is happening in the industry. Contact Dejan via Linkedin.

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