Streaming on twitch is a lucrative career for some and may be a tantalizing option for the avid gamer. If you are considering a career in streaming you might be curious to know how much do twitch streamers make? The amount that a Twitch streamer makes is directly proportional to the size of their viewership. More regular viewers mean more money.
To earn money as a Twitch streamer you first have to become a Twitch Affiliate or Partner. The requirements to become affiliated with Twitch are attached to the size of your viewer base like having 50 followers, a certain number of average viewers per stream, and a set number of hours streamed per month.
Any prospective streamer is going to need the best streaming software available to them which will require reading through some streaming software reviews to find the ideal software for them.
If gaming is your passion and you plan to make a living out of it then you will certainly need to read some game recording software reviews to ensure that you are getting the highest quality performance you can. Also think about Mixer vs Twitch or Twitch vs YouTube, which we covered here.
How Much Do Twitch Streamers Make & in Which Ways?
Twitch streamers make a variable amount of income based on the size of their community and how often they stream. Most of the smaller Twitch channels don’t pull in enough income to support themselves streaming full time, but what they do make still functions quite well as supplementary income. On the other hand, top twitch streamers make quite a lot of money, over $20,000 a month in some cases. They can do this because they understand how to make money on twitch.
Once you become an Affiliate of Twitch you gain access to revenue-producing features like subscriptions and donations. Affiliates of Twitch can be given donations from generous viewers in a similar manner to how one might tip their waitstaff after eating dinner at a restaurant. Of course, you need to learn how to set up donations on Twitch first.
Viewers also can subscribe to your channel once you become an Affiliate which involves paying a certain amount of money per month to your channel and Twitch. In exchange, the viewer is given access to cosmetic features for their account like chat emojis.
If you acquire a large enough following your account will be upgraded to Partner status and you unlock even more features such as advertisement revenue. Once you reach Partner status you not only unlock new revenue features but your previous features receive a boost, for example, once you are a Twitch Partner you receive a larger percentage of your donations and less is taken by Twitch.
Streamers often receive donations from viewers that wish to support their content. As an added incentive for giving donations to streamers a viewer is usually afforded the opportunity to leave a message attached to their donation where they could ask questions or show appreciation.
Usually, these take the form of a one-time payment to the streamer through the platform as a show of support for their content. This option is offered by most streaming platforms and is a well-established part of the streaming culture.
In the case of Twitch and their Affiliate program, almost all of the money received through donations goes directly to the streamer. As a consequence of this many streamers incentivize donating by offering special rewards or events mid-stream for donating certain amounts. Not all Twitch streamers choose to incentivize donations this way some choose not to mention donations at all and just allow them to come in or not based entirely on the quality of their content and the generosity of their community.
With certain platforms, you can earn ad revenue by playing advertisements during your stream. Twitch allows streamers to play advertisements at the beginning of their streams and earn revenue from viewers watching them.
Streamers can also play advertisements at their discretion during their streams. Some choose to take advantage of this by playing them frequently when they have many viewers. Others choose not to play advertisements at all.
Unfortunately, advertisements are risky. Few viewers like to see their entertainment interrupted by advertisements and there are third-party programs out there that will block them from seeing ads all together which will lose you a source of revenue.
Fortunately, advertisement revenue does not earn a comparable amount of money to any of the other sources which means that losing out on it shouldn’t significantly affect the success of your channel or your monetary earnings.
Some platforms provide a way for viewers to help support your content by signing up to pay you a certain amount on regularly, usually monthly. Not all streaming platforms offer this as an option but it is very popular and those that don’t will likely start adopting it soon. Twitch was an early proponent of this feature and allows multiple tiers of subscription for viewers. There are three tiers of subscription for Twitch viewers each costing $5, $10, or $25 respectively. The streamer earns 50% of the revenue from subscribers, though in the case of bigger channels there is a chance that they will earn a higher percentage of the revenue from their subscriber base.
Not all Twitch subscribers are paying the $5 for a tier 1 subscription. Because Twitch is owned by Amazon anyone with an Amazon Prime subscription also has a Twitch Prime subscription, which comes with many benefits, one of which being the ability to subscribe to a single channel of your choice for free. The streamers, of course, earn their share if you use this option, too.
If you have a sufficiently large community of regular viewers organizations and companies might reach out to you and offer to support your content in exchange for you promoting their goods or services.
Some companies might sponsor your whole stream or pay you to use their good or service and review it for your viewers. In this case, the deal could be something like the streamer playing the sponsor’s game during their stream and being compensated anywhere from one cent to $1 per viewer per hour. Multiply that by, let’s say 5.000 viewers at the same time in a one-hour session and… wow! Here are the exact earnings of the top 20 Twitch streamers.
As a streamer you won’t just get offers to play games for sponsors, they might also ask other things like advertising their products and/or brands by displaying them on camera or the stream itself.
Here's a real-life Twitch earnings breakdown from Disguised Toast:
Off-Twitch Ways to Make Money
If you are looking for redundancy in your business plan or perhaps independence from your platform of choice you can set up third-party systems for donations and regular payments. Services like Patreon, GoFundMe, and Kickstarter are excellent options for allowing your viewers to help support your continued content creation or provide you an opportunity to enrich your content going forward.
If you are looking into starting a career as a stream and have wondered “how much do twitch streamers make?” then you should know that there are other sources of revenue for Twitch streamers that do not come from the Twitch platform or their Partnership/ Affiliate program. Many streamers supplement their Twitch income with YouTube channels where they upload archived versions of their streams at the very least. Some choose to sell merchandise related to their stream including things like t-shirts, mugs, and hats. Some streamers even receive monetary compensation for live appearances at events.
Uploading Videos to Youtube
While some live streaming platforms will immediately archive your streaming sessions and convert them to Video on Demand (VOD) format there are several benefits to learning how to record streaming video and keeping backups of your live streams. If you create copies of your streams for your own archives you are creating a safety net for your content and your business.
Learning how to record a live stream is an excellent opportunity to increase your stream’s revenue. Copies of your stream can be uploaded to YouTube, another video streaming platform, which will provide another source of viewership and another place to see and support your content should something go wrong with your primary platform.
Recording your live stream sessions provides an opportunity for you to flex your editing muscles and strengthen your personal brand by enhancing your content post-stream. Having a copy of your streams allows you to generate new kinds of content while also providing an additional way to engage with your viewership community.
Some well-known Twitch streamers might be compensated for appearing at certain events such as conventions or e-sports tournaments. Some particularly knowledgeable and/or skilled streamers will be invited to e-sports events as casters to commentate on the game much as you would see at a sporting event. These are an additional source of income though it is not available to most streamers.
Another source of revenue from the entrepreneurial streamer is joining an affiliate program. Some companies will offer you a link or code that your viewers can use when they purchase goods from that company and when your viewers do purchase goods from that company using your affiliate code or link you will receive a commission for directing them there. This doesn’t result in a set income but more of a variable amount depending on how many consumers make use of your referral link or code.
It is possible to be an affiliate of any company though they are usually related to gaming in some way, as is the content of most streamers. Of course, becoming an affiliate and how much revenue you earn as one is entirely dependent on the size of your channel and community which means that this source of revenue would not be available to most newer Twitch streamers.
Merchandise is a well-known source of revenue for many businesses and streaming is no different. You can choose to create and sell your own merchandise or some platforms offer to do it for you in exchange for a cut of the profits. Some streamers choose to set up their own stores for selling merchandise associated with their channel or community. This is an excellent way to grow your brand when you already have a bit of a following.