A few months ago, social media giant Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) was sputtering out of control on data privacy concerns and hit rock bottom around $150. Remember that?
It’s hazy for me, too. After all, the only thing Facebook stock has done over the past several months is string together multiple long-term growth catalysts, the sum of which have put those data privacy concerns to rest and powered the stock to all-time highs right below $200.
The most recent of those narrative-changing catalysts is one of the more exciting ones. Facebook Gaming, which has long been a nascent business oozing with potential for Facebook, is now starting to make some serious moves to put it on par with Twitch, the live streaming platform owned by Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN).
That is big news.
Twitch is a big platform (15 million-plus daily active users) in a big growth industry (video game streaming companies largely saw triple-digit user growth in 2017).
The revenue potential is big (highly targeted advertisements plus subscription services). And the opportunity for Facebook to leverage its 2-billion-plus monthly active user audience to do something big in the video game streaming world is quite promising.
As such, I identify Facebook Gaming as yet another reason to buy Facebook stock.
Here’s a deeper look.
Facebook Gaming Is Making Big Moves
Facebook Gaming isn’t anything brand-new. But Facebook is finally legitimizing its gaming segment to compete more effectively in the mega-growth video game streaming industry.
The first big move for Facebook Gaming happened back in January, when the company announced the Facebook Gaming creator program. This program essentially allowed content creators to monetize their content through donations and subscriptions.
That was big. After all, these video game broadcasters need the right incentives to create all the content that millions of people want to see, and Facebook Gaming gave them those incentives in January.
More recently, Facebook has started to formalize and centralize its gaming division. Namely, the company recently launched FB.gg (the “gg” stands for “good game,” a slang acronym frequently used in the video game world). FB.gg now serves as a central hub for the platform’s live-streamed video game content.
All in all, Facebook Gaming has taken some big steps in 2018 to go from a nascent business oozing with potential to a business prepared to effectively compete with Twitch, YouTube and others in the mega-growth video game streaming industry.
The Potential in This Market Is Huge
Facebook Gaming should get investors excited.
After all, this is a massive market that Facebook is levered to dominate over the next several years.
Video game streaming is a mega-growth market. Twitch has 15 million daily active visitors. Those daily visitors spend an average of 106 minutes per day on the platform. Moreover, Twitch has 2.2 million creators generating the content that those 15 million viewers spend nearly two hours a day watching.
Concurrent viewership on Twitch is miles above YouTube’s concurrent viewership and on par with concurrent viewership among major U.S. cable channels like Fox News, ESPN, MSNBC and CNN.
And this is just the beginning. Last year, Twitch’s monthly streaming base grew by 200%.
Overall, the video gaming industry is positioned to get really, really big in the United States. There are roughly 120 million households in the U.S., and 63% of them have a frequent gamer. Thus, even if you conservatively assume roughly 1.5 gamers per gamer household, then you are looking at a potential video game streaming audience in the U.S. of over 110 million.
That audience is highly specific. According to Twitch, 81.5% of its users are male, and 55% are between the ages of 18 and 34. This highly specific nature of the video game streaming audience lends itself well to highly targeted advertisement solutions with presumably high conversion rates. Thus, unit ad revenue in video game streaming is likely quite strong.
And that is only one way of monetizing video game streaming. The other big monetization route is through subscriptions, which puts Twitch, Facebook Gaming and others in the realm of Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX).
Overall, this is a massive market oozing with potential.
And Facebook, owing to its already huge audience (2 billion-plus monthly users, all of whom will get exposure to FB.gg if the company promotes it) and massive data set (Facebook knows everything about which games are the most popular, so it can properly position content so that the most meaningful and relevant video game streams surface first) is positioned to be a huge player in this market in five-plus years.
Bottom Line on Facebook Gaming
Is Facebook Gaming yet another reason to buy Facebook stock?
Yes. Considering Facebook’s multiple growth catalysts on the horizon that have yet to materialize, I’m not worried about Facebook stock from a valuation perspective until it is up and over $210.
Thus, below $200, Facebook stock remains one of my favorite holdings.
As of this writing, Luke Lango was long FB and AMZN.