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Who is the bigger streamer: The Doc or Ninja?

2020 has been an interesting year in the world of streaming, but it seems like two names have been in the conversation more than any others. Tyler "Ninja" Blevins and Guy "Dr Disrespect" Beahm have both been in the process of reinventing their brands. Ninja became a free agent when Mixer shut down, while Dr Disrespect has been trying to keep his fans invested following a mysterious Twitch ban. With both of them back on the rise, the real question is: who is the bigger streamer?

That was a much easier question to answer last year (when both of them were still on Twitch), but a look at the numbers may help. Before Ninja's big move to Mixer last year, no one even came close to his numbers. According to GamesIndustry.biz, Ninja had 14.8 million followers on Twitch before he departed that platform. Those numbers plummeted with the move, with Ninja topping out at 3.2 million followers when Mixer went under.

Meanwhile, Eurogamer reported that Dr Disrespect had over 4 million followers on Twitch at the time of his ban. While he couldn't hold a candle to Ninja's old Twitch numbers, the Doc was outpacing Ninja's Mixer following for the better part of this year. Unfortunately, the Doc had to start all over when his Twitch channel was banned.

All of the hubbub surrounding the Doc's ban may have paid off for him in the long run, however. It's often said that any press is good press, and it appears that the hype surrounding the Doc's recent appearances would back that old adage up. Since his ban on Twitch, Dr Disrespect almost seems to be more relevant than ever. Many have attempted to unravel the mystery behind his ban, and this has inadvertently built up even more hype around the Dr Disrespect brand.

Speaking of branding, both streamers have made concerted efforts in recent years to expand their brand to new mediums. In particular, both of them have felt the call of Hollywood and have been pursuing it with varying levels of success.

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Ninja explained that he filmed a scene for Jumanji: The Next Level, but that scene was later cut. Afterwards, he decided to continue looking into other similar projects. He has a cameo in the upcoming Ryan Reynolds comedy Free Guy. Otherwise, it appears as though he's been chasing after other acting gigs, including voice acting, but hasn't really landed anything other than a truly bizarre spot on The Masked Singer. 

Dr Disrespect, on the other hand, signed a TV development deal last year that may see an animated series made about his online persona. It's unclear if the Doc's Twitch ban will affect his television aspirations, but it's worth noting that he briefly seemed to have more momentum than Ninja in this arena.

In the last couple of months, both streamers have also staged their own returns to streaming, with wildly different results. In July, Ninja did a surprise stream on YouTube that netted well over 160,000 viewers. He followed this up by blowing fans' minds and logging into his old Twitch channel to stream with DrLupo, bringing in around 100,000 concurrent viewers at one point.

However, the Doc's surprise comeback on YouTube blew Ninja's return streams out of the water. During Dr Disrespect's teaser stream on August 6, he had racked up over 326,000 viewers a mere 48 minutes into the broadcast. As pointed out by some fans, the Doc managed to outdo Ninja in sheer viewership numbers without even showing his face on screen that day. There may have been an overwhelming number of people tuning in to find out why if he'd address his Twitch ban, but the number is nothing to sneeze at. It's also worth noting that around 250,000 viewers reportedly tuned in for the Doc's official return stream the next day. 

It should be interesting to see how both streamers will continue to adapt to losing their usual channels. The Doc seems to be flourishing at the moment, transforming all of that speculation surrounding his ban into a massive number of curious viewers. Meanwhile, Ninja appears to be living his best life, only going live when he feels like it and where he feels like it. However, there are a few rumors surrounding Ninja's next moves, and the streamer has hinted that he is currently in discussions with an unnamed platform. If he did end up signing with Twitch again, he'd easily overtake the Doc's numbers because of the followers he still has through Twitch.

Once Ninja settles into a new spot and a new routine, the battle of the streamers can truly begin again. At the moment, there doesn't seem to be a clear victor. Instead, both Ninja and the Doc appear to be making the very best out of some rough career setbacks.