Twitch recognises streamers’ dedication to making content and hosts an Affiliate Tool. This is designed to place streamers one step closer towards making a living.
Fresh streamers need to obtain an audience of at least 50 viewers before Twitch will invite them to join the Affiliate Tool. They also gotta have “at least 500 total mins broadcast, 7 special broadcast days, and an average of 3 or more concurrent viewers” to be invited.
Streamers then begin earning an income from their content through subscriptions, Bits to Cheer, and minigame sales. Bits to Cheer lets viewers offer assist without leaving the channel or Twitch, and Bits either take the form of animated gem emotes or Cheermotes, which are virtual goods that viewers purchase and use to Cheer for streamers in chat.
Streamers receive a share of the revenue that Twitch receives from selling the Bits based on how many Cheers they get. Affiliates receive US 1c per Bit used to Cheer for them. When Affiliates play and stream any minigame that is accessible for sale or has in-game stuff for sale on Twitch, an offer to buy the minigame will appear below the video window.
Affiliates can then earn revenue through the sale of minigames or in-game stuff. This is in addition to subscription options. Twitch Partners then have an additional avenue for income compared to Affiliates, which is through the monetisation of advertisements that are played on their channel.
On YouTube, streamers follow a related path. In 2016, Google South Africa country director Luke Mckend stated that advertisements on YouTube channels earn streamers around R1,000 per million views.
To search out more about streaming as a career, we spoke to Grant Hinds – one of the top streamers in South Africa. He state that South Africans can make a living off streaming, but it is about more than just streaming and hoping to make cash through advertisements.
To become successful as a streamer, especially locally, requires the building a amazing business model. “It doesn’t actually matter how many followers or subscribers you have – you just need to have a really amazing business model,” Hinds said. “There is no set amount of followers, necessarily – if your content is nice and you can sell that to a tiny audience, then you can make a living out of it.”
He added further that advert revenue was a less important aspect of being a streamer, as brand deals were more likely to bring in livable revenue. This was regardless of the size of your viewership. On top of this, sponsorships are a lucrative method to bring in revenue. MyBroadband also spoke to Lumin – a local streamer who can be found on Twitch and YouTube – about how lucrative the streaming area can be.
When asked how much revenue a streamer can make in South Africa, his response was “the sky’s the limit”. “South Africa isn’t really at a disadvantage anymore and making it as a streamer, and making a living off of it, is entirely in your own hands,” he said.
He said that Twitch Affiliates only obtain around half of their subscriber revenue, which comes to $2.49 per normal subscriber. That means that if you should obtain a thousand subscribers per month, you would obtain around $2,500 per month. He also added that there are few another avenues to make cash – such as merchandise sales and advices from the community you create.