Twitch is one of the hottest platforms in the gaming community today. People can watch their favorite gamers and content creators livestream video games for hours and interact with each other in group chats. But do twitch streamers make money from their content? If so, how? Let’s explore all the potential ways a twitch streamer can generate revenue.
The most straightforward way twitch streamers make money is through fan donations. Viewers can join a stream and donate an amount of their choosing to their favorite streamers. Most streamers have live notifications for their donations, giving every donator a chance to leave a message for the whole stream to see.
However, streamers who aren’t Twitch Affiliates (more on that in a second) must connect a third-party donation app like Patreon or Streamlabs to their Twitch accounts to make donations possible. Viewers can only donate to streamers who have the necessary accounts linked together.
2. Twitch Affiliates
Twitch streamers can also make money by becoming Twitch affiliates. A user needs to meet four criteria to qualify for affiliate status:
- Stream for at least 500 minutes in the last 30 days
- Stream on at least seven days in the last 30 days
- Receive an average of three viewers per stream
- Have at least 50 followers
Once a streamer reaches these thresholds, Twitch automatically invites them to become affiliates. This status opens up several new revenue streams:
- Twitch Bits: streamers no longer need to connect third-party donation apps to their stream. They can receive direct fan donations, also known as Bits.
- Subscriptions: streamers can earn extra money from monthly subscriptions. A user pays USD 4.99 for one month’s access to all content, which gets split 50/50 between Twitch and the streamer.
- Game Sales: streamers are authorized to sell games and in-game items on Twitch for a five-percent share of the revenue.
- Ad Revenue: streamers receive a flat-rate CPM (cost per 1000 viewers) for advertising certain companies and products. This revenue stream is NOT the same as sponsorships, which we will discuss later.
The streamer must give their tax information to Amazon (Twitch’s parent company) so Twitch can make secure payments through PayPal or another financial application. Once that information is settled, they can start making some real money.
3. Twitch Partners
While a majority of streamers can earn affiliate status if they build their viewer base for a few months, only the most popular streamers can become Twitch partners. It’s an exclusive club with no clear criteria, but it’s easy to tell which streamers qualify based on their subscriptions, views, etc. Partners have the same revenue streams as affiliates, plus some special opportunities:
- Generate additional revenue through monthly subscriptions by getting a bigger split
- Create a badge, emotes and other custom merchandise
- Run commercials on their stream and set their time/duration
- Turn on/off ads
However, with great power comes great responsibility. Twitch has high expectations for its partners’ streams, including high content quality, consistent viewership numbers and a stream frequency of at least three days a week.
4. Affiliate Marketing
Streamers can also join brand affiliate networks (not to be confused with the Twitch Affiliate group discussed above). They can simply sign up for a company’s affiliate network and receive a percentage of the profits their viewers spent on the company.
The most common way streamers make money through affiliate networks is by putting links and widgets on their streams. If a viewer clicks on the link and buys the product, the streamer gets some of the sales revenue.
5. Brand Sponsorships
Twitch is an ideal platform for brand sponsorships because streamers and viewers often use the platform for hours at a time, giving companies a significant exposure opportunity. All streamers with a decent following have sponsors from various industries, but these are the most common:
- Computer hardware and software
If a brand thinks they match a streamer’s content and personality, they can make the streamer a sponsor and pay them to use their products. Sometimes the streamer just has to wear a t-shirt, but other sponsorships are more lucrative and expect the streamer to make a concerted effort in promoting specific products.
Start Making Money on Twitch
Any Twitch streamer can make money through many avenues, including donations and affiliate links. However, they must become a registered Affiliate or Partner and have sufficient subscribers/viewership to make a consistent income from the site. If you want to earn a living on Twitch, you have to make a substantial commitment.
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