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How Do Twitch Streamers Make Money?

by sam.h

Getting paid to play games and stream them may seem like a dream-come-true for many people, but how much can you realistically make as a twitch streamer?

How much do streamers earn? That’s a good question. Ever since circa 2011 when Twitch entered Public Beta and reached up to 100 employees on 2013, they have been seeing tremendous growth.

Streaming has gone from a nice hobby to an extremely lucrative profession, some of the biggest streamers earning up to millions, digging large deals with major companies (For one, Ninja, a popular Fortnite twitch streamer managed to acquire so much publicity on Twitch that he landed a multi-year 20 to 30 million deal with Mixer) 

There are several avenues for twitch streamers to make money, here are some of them:

  • Paid subscription revenue to Twitch streamers’ official channels
  • Donations and Bit Cheers from Twitch followers
  • Advertising revenue via Twitch and other social channels
  • Sponsorships from video game industry brands
  • Professional gaming, including eSports sponsorships and winning tournaments
  • Affiliate sales
  • Merchandise sales

Twitch Categories

The good thing about streaming games is that there is a wide variety of marketable audience, as many as there are games – and new games comes out everyday! A few categories of twitch streamers includes:

  • Esports: Competitive games such as Dota 2, CS:GO, League of Legends
  • General Games: Popular games, strategy games, RPG, any games
  • Art: Art content creation / discussion
  • Podcast
  • Niche Communities: Lesser known games or hobbies
  • Interactive / Variety: A talk-show format where the streamer regularly interacts with the chat as an entertainer
  • Livestream: Also known as an IRL (In Real-life) stream where streamers broadcast their day to day activities and interact with the twitch chat.

Income as a Twitch Streamer

It is no secret that the twitch market is largely dominated by the largest streamers, but that does not mean that small, niche streamers I cannot find a foothold in the large market. Streaming is a sophisticated profession that involves many aspect such as marketing, entertaining, and also occasionally managing content (some streamers have taken to uploading highlights of their stream to a dedicated YouTube channel as well to amass better audience interaction)

Twitch Subscription

Subscriptions allow the audience to support their favorite creators, this usually comes in tiered levels of subscription, each tier with tailored benefits depending on the channel.

Twitch Bits are virtual goods viewers can use to cheer in chat to show support, celebrate moments, and amplify their voice. When a viewer Cheers, animated Bit gem emotes,  Cheermotes (animated versions of popular emotes), or custom Cheermotes (for Partners) appear in Chat. Streamers receive $0.01 for each Bit used in your chat.

At last, there are simply donations which are just streamres plugging their PayPal or other payment services links for enthusiastic donors to donate to them and receive shoutouts. PayPal is used as it is more accessible internationally.


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