How Much do Twitch Streamers Make? [+Twitch Media Value Money Calculator]

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Which of these games have you played the most?
25% League of Legends
14% Grand Theft Auto V
15% Valorant
6% Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
19% Minecraft
10% Fortnite
11% Apex Legends

Source: CreditDonkey

What is your target monthly revenue as a Twitch streamer?
22% Less than $500
19% $500 – $1000
33% $1000 – $5000
26% More than $5000

Source: CreditDonkey

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The Top 10 Twitch Streamers Earn More than $20M Per Year

Twitch is an extremely lucrative source of income

Twitch is an extremely lucrative source of income for the top streamers. Many of the top Twitch streamers are also talented professional e-sport players, too, and the combination makes them powerful influencers to their gaming/viewing fans.

It is estimated that the top 10 Twitch streamers gross over $20 million between them.

It is important to remember these are not your stereotypical gaming bums who spend all day playing games and never find a job. They may look like the stereotype, but in reality, they are shrewd business people, who have found a way to maximize the potential of their gaming talents.

However, Twitch streamers are more than just gamers. They are entertainers. The commentaries and conversations are more critical to the viewers than any natural gaming ability. You don’t have to win every game to be a successful Twitch streamer. The fans come to the Twitch channels for the entertainment experience. Moreover, they pay for what they like.

Bits and Cheers

Bits are Twitch’s virtual currency. Channel subscriber can buy Bits and redeem them for a range of emotes they can use to Cheer in their favorite streamers’ chatrooms. There is a range of animated emoji (called Bit gems and Cheernotes), worth varying amounts of bits. These range from a small gray Bit gem worth one bit, up to large red highly animated star Bit gems worth 10,000 bits each. Cheernotes are slightly different, as individual streamers customize these. However, they primarily work the same way.

Whenever a fan uses a Bit gem or Cheernote, Twitch pays the broadcaster at the rate of one cent per Bit.

How Many Partners Does Twitch Have?

There are around 27,000 Partners on Twitch – out of a total of 2.2 million unique monthly broadcasters. Twitch is currently still accepting for the program.

Is Becoming a Full-Time Twitch Streamer a Good Idea?

Ultra-talented Twitch streamers eventually reach a point where they must decide whether quitting their jobs and streaming on Twitch full-time makes sense. This can be a tough decision, especially if it involves leaving a cushy job.

Here are some things to consider when you reach that point.

Inconsistent income

Whenever you leave a full-time job to pursue a side hustle, it requires making up the lost income. This requires looking at your budget and determining how much you’ll need to bring in to make ends meet. 

Streaming full-time on Twitch can be difficult. The revenue can be inconsistent — even for top earners. These people rely on various revenue streams like ads, sponsorships, selling merch, and collecting Bits, to name just a few examples. It’s not like collecting a regular paycheck. 

Games may no longer be fun

Streaming full-time on Twitch means a lifestyle change. For example, if you’re playing video games full-time, video games won’t be a hobby anymore. Instead, they’ll become your job. 

Some people try this out and realize that they miss playing video games to unwind at the end of the day. Furthermore, streaming full-time on Twitch can result in long days at home in front of the screen, which not everyone finds enjoyable.

Twitch is highly competitive

Twitch is loaded with talented users. You’ll be competing with all of them for concurrent viewership. 

The more simultaneous viewers you can log, the more money you’ll make and the more attractive you’ll be to advertisers. As such, you have to stream a lot, and the quality has to be top-notch to make it as a full-time Twitch streamer. 

Make sure you have the knowledge and ability to produce high-quality content every day. Otherwise, you may not be able to compete with more experienced Twitch Affiliates and Partners.

Learn more:

What Do Twitch Streamers Make Per-Follower?

As previously mentioned, Twitch streamers don’t necessarily earn money on a per-follower basis. More followers doesn’t always equate to more money, as anybody has the ability to follow a channel without ever having to tune in to watch a stream.

Consistent viewership is far more important than high follower numbers, as it ensures that streamers will actually be seen. Discoverability on Twitch is solely driven by a channel’s current view numbers, so follower count isn’t the goal that you should strive towards; some streamers do the “follow-for-follow” method, pay for followers, or have fake followers, which may look good on paper but is worthless in the long run.

However, if we were to roughly estimate, a Twitch Streamer could probably expect $1 to $1.50 per average viewer per month, if they were to stream 5 days a week. But again, this is a very rough estimate. If you happen to have viewers that are extremely generous, then this number is probably higher. If you’re less fortunate and have viewers that rarely ever subscribe or tip, then this number may be lower.

How Much Money Can Twitch Streamers Make?

Earnings on Twitch can greatly vary depending on several factors, including the number of Twitch subscribers you have, the different monetization opportunities you have, and how regularly you’re producing content. Many Twitch streamers report income between $3,000 and $5,000 a month, but it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact average since earnings aren’t public.

What Are Twitch Bits?

Twitch Bits are the smallest form of payments that streamers can receive. When a viewer purchases a Bit, they’re purchasing an animated GIF to use in chat rooms.

Twitch pays the streamer one cent for each bit that is used in their chatroom. Fans spent close to $2 million on Bits within the first three months of the program.

How to Make Money on Twitch Without Being a Partner

Let me give it to you straight: If you’ve just started streaming, it can be incredibly difficult to earn money on Twitch. 

For starters, you can’t make money from subscriptions, Twitch Bits, game sales, or ads until you become a Twitch Affiliate or Partner. Plus, it’s virtually impossible to make money from sponsorships or merchandise until you have a large following.

However, if you want to know how to make money on Twitch without being a Partner, there are 4 ways to get started while you grow your following:

  • Donations
  • Patreon
  • YouTube
  • Affiliate marketing 

Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

YouTube

By uploading the best parts of your streams to a YouTube channel, it’s possible to start earning a little money from YouTube ads.

For example, you could upload game compilations, interesting or funny clips from your streams, or even new content.

Just like Twitch, it can be pretty challenging to make money on YouTube. However, uploading videos to YouTube has another key benefit: it’s a great way to attract new followers to your Twitch streams.

Why?

Well, Twitch doesn’t offer streamers many ways to attract new viewers. However, YouTube has comprehensive search features, related video suggestions, and even personal recommendations for viewers.

This is why all top Twitch streamers also share regularly on YouTube. For instance, the popular Twitch streamer Ludwig Ahgren posts a new YouTube video every day:

Patreon

Figuring out how to make money on Twitch is tough when you don’t have many followers. Plus, you can’t take advantage of Twitch subscriptions until you become an Affiliate.

However, if you have a few regular viewers who love your streams, you can incentivize them to donate money to you each month on Patreon in exchange for rewards that you create. 

For instance, you could offer exclusive video content for patrons or share top gaming tips and tricks. 

Make sure to add a link to your Patreon page in your Twitch profile description and promote your Patreon rewards to viewers during streams.

Twitch Payout Explained

Many streamers don’t see a payout for several months after reaching Twitch affiliate. The minimum amount for a Twitch will payout is $100 in earnings. Factoring in a 50% cut going to Twitch a streamer would have to earn 40 total subs before being capable of cashing out their earnings.

Generally speaking, Twitch Partners will earn more than Affiliates. While starting off at a base 50% cut of tier 1 subscriptions many larger streamers have custom deals where this percentage is increased. The standard split for Twitch Partners depending on the tier of the sub are:

  • Tier 1: 50/50
  • Tier 2: 60/40
  • Tier 3: 70/30

While there are certainly exceptions to the rule, those who have reached Partner status generally have higher entertainment value and a larger viewer base than Affiliates. With these strong communities, Partners are generally able to secure a higher monthly payout from Twitch. 

How Much a Streamer Makes Per Ad

Twitch partners earn about $250 monthly per 100 subscribers, according to CNBC. Affiliates will not earn as much. The amount varies depending on how many viewers are in the channel as well as how many of them are using Adblock on Twitch

Twitch Bits vs Twitch Subs

Twitch Bits can be classified as “tipping” in that they can be donated at any time and for any amount. Subscriptions are paid for once per month and can be seen as a more reliable payment amount for a streamer. While some subscriptions will be canceled and Twitch Prime will expire, many people will subscribe and allow it to continue throughout a streamer’s career. 

How Much a Streamer Makes Per Twitch Bit

Streamers earn $.01 USD per bit. If a streamer doesn’t live in the USA, they will be paid the equivalent in their currency based on the current transitional value. Every 100 bits equals $1 USD. 

Are Twitch Bits Worth More Than Subscriptions?

Dollar for dollar spent by the viewer, a streamer will earn more through Twitch bits over Subs. To illustrate this, one viewer can sub to a channel for 4 months for $20. The streamer will make half of that amount, $10. Another viewer can purchase 1500 Bits for $20, which would be worth $15 to the streamer. 

That being said, multiple subscriptions unlock emotes slots for the streamer, making their channel more enticing to new subs over time. Helping someone build a community can be more valuable to a streamer when they are just starting out. 

Twitch Payout Fees

Twitch Payout Fees

While Twitch doesn’t charge payout fees, there will be a small processor fee taken from your payment that goes to the third party that manages payouts. You should also account for paying Twitch taxes in the future. 

Actual Twitch Streamer Income

Disguised Toast gave us a look inside how much he makes from his Twitch stream, which gives some good high-level information on the different streams:

Some of the numbers he cites are examples, with some massive subscriber counts for well-known streamers, and they’re eye-popping.

For him specifically, he earns each month (video is dated October 2018):

  • Donations – $2,500
  • Advertisements – $10,000 (only pre-roll ads and banners, no Ad buttons)
  • Subscriptions – When he posted, he had 4,000 subscribers and made about $14,000 each month.
  • Sponsorships – He averages 10,000 viewers so he can get paid anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 per hour. He can also get $5,000 per 30 second Youtube video and $5-10k for live appearances.

All in, he makes $20,000 per month off ads, subscribers, and donations.

How Twitch Streamers Make Money

Twitch streamers have a variety of different ways to make money but four ways make up the bulk of their income:

  1. Donations
  2. Advertisements
  3. Subscriptions
  4. Sponsorships

Donations

Donations are the oldest form of support that’s ever been known – it’s when viewers just give money to the streamer.

The Twitch currency is known as “bits.” You can think of them as being worth roughly a penny each but that depends on the current purchase price. As of this writing, you can get 1,000 bits for $10 but buying 100 bits will cost you $1.40. Oddly enough, buying 10,000 bits will cost you $1.26 – which is a higher per bit price than buying them in 1,000 chunks.

The streamers gets a penny for each bit. Twitch’s cut comes on the purchase of bits, not on the donation of bits, which makes logistical sense. As a viewer, you donate bits through cheering and other more visible methods in the chat.

Outside of Twitch, you can always make a direct donation to the streamer.

The amount that makes it to the streamer will depend on the platform you use. Many of the platforms don’t take any percentage outside of what it costs to process the charge, usually credit card fees. For example, Streamlabs doesn’t charge any fees on donations and so the streamer gets it all minus Paypal or Stripe fees (usually for credit cards).

Advertisements

Whenever you start a stream, there’s almost always a thirty-second advertisement. Sometimes, on big promotional pushes, you may get two ads before a stream.

Then, whenever the Twitch streamer wants, they can press an Ad button that delivers a 30-second ad. Usually, you’ll see them do it when they get something to eat or have to get up to use the bathroom.

But put too many ads and you risk turning people off. So, it’s a delicate balance.

As for how much they make off the ads, commonly referred to as the cost per mille (CPM) or cost per thousand views, you won’t ever see anyone disclose it because of disclosure reasons. Twitch streamers aren’t allowed to share these. Also, as someone who is also advertisement supported, the ad rates will fluctuate based on demand. I’d imagine that the rates go up a lot around major game releases and go down otherwise.

As a viewer, I haven’t seen anyone press the Ad button and they only show ads during major game releases. I imagine this isn’t a major percentage of revenue for Twitch streamers since ad block will prevent the display of ads too.

Subscriptions

For the more popular streamers, I imagine this category makes up the bulk of their income.

This is the top right of every stream.
This is the top right of every stream.

On Twitch, you can get notifications when a streamer is about to stream just by following them – click the Heart and leave Notifications (the bell) on. That’s free.

But you can also “subscribe” and that puts money in a Twitch streamer’s pocket.

There are up to three tiers of subscriptions (all renew automatically:

  • Tier 1: $4.99 per month (1 Subscriber Point)
  • Tier 2: $9.99 per month (2 Subscriber Points)
  • Tier 3: $24.99 per month (6 Subscriber Points)

As a Twitch streamer, you can get to upload custom emotes whenever you reach a certain number of subscribers. This is based on the concept of Subscriber Points (each tier gets you different Subscriber Points). You start with 25 and can get up to 60.

A viewer gets some perks for being a subscriber, depending on the streamer. Here, for example, is what you get if you are a Tier 1 subscriber to John Bartholomew, a Chess IM and Twitch streamer:You get:

You get:

  • Ad-free viewing on JohnBartholomew’s channel (with limited exceptions).
  • Chat during Subscriber-Only Mode and not affected by chat slow mode.
  • Watch and chat during Subscriber Streams.
  • Resubscribe to retrieve your highest unlocked Sub Badge.
  • And 10 Custom Emotes

Twitch streamers earn a minimum of 50% of the subscription fees. The more subscribers they have, the more they get to keep.

“Top tier partners” get up to 70% of the subscription fees.

If you know how many subscribers a streamer has, it’s relatively easy to calculate how much they earn each month through subscriptions. Twitch doesn’t release the number of subscribers a streamer has, so any figures you see online are guesses. The number of Followers you see at the top of each Profile is NOT subscribers, those are free followers, but I suspect that’s what online lists use as a way to guess actual subscribers (and other factors, like live viewers).

TwitchTracker has a list of subscriber counts that looks as accurate as any other, so based on those figures, here’s how much some of the top streamers make each month on subscriptions (assuming a 70% cut):

  • CRITICALROLE – $37,783.263
  • SHROUD – $36,107.295
  • RFUE – $35,609.637
  • GAMESDONEQUICK – $39,360.216
  • NICKMERCS – $64,990.492
  • TIMTHETATMAN – $34,504.939
  • MOONMOON_OW – $43,371.797
  • XQCOW – $26,073.502
  • NINJA – $19,647.39
  • DRLUPO – $42,836.92

Who knows how accurate these figures are but even if they’re close, that’s some good money!

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