Many people seem confused by the concept of watching other people play video games. But how is this any different from watching other people play sports or compete, exactly?
What we’re witnessing here is the evolution of entertainment, and streaming platforms like Twitch are spearheading this movement.
Now, while some people just do it for attention, there are those who use Twitch as a source of income. So, how much do Twitch streamers make?
Based solely on a subscription system, it would be fairly easy to make an estimate of a Twitch streamer’s income. However, Twitch streamers also make money through donations, ads, and by using their social media presence.
Nevertheless, for the purpose of this article, we’ll try to estimate how much one can earn from streaming on Twitch exclusively.
How Much Does an Average Twitch Streamer make?
While a veteran Twitch streamer may earn from $3,000 to $5,000 per month, this is far from the experience of an average Twitch streamer. Still, determining how much an average streamer makes is somewhat problematic.
It is quite easy to multiply the number of subscribers a streamer has by the subscription fee. However, this won’t reveal their full income from Twitch.
You see, Twitch streamer earnings are quite diversified. While you can easily estimate subscriber income, donations are just too unpredictable. Moreover, every sponsorship deal is different.
With that in mind and without further ado, let’s try to break down each of these (major) income sources and try to get a clear answer to this question.
How much do Twitch streamers make per sub?
The most consistent income of Twitch streamers comes from subscriptions.
To subscribe to a channel, a user needs to pay $4.99 per month. There are no discounts for long-term subscriptions.
The platform takes 50% of all subscription fees. As the end result, a Twitch streamer earns roughly $2.50 per month from one subscriber.
Now, while the number of subscribers differs, the average streamer (across all games and categories) has around 100 subscribers. This means that their monthly income from subscribers comes down to roughly $250 per month.
While it may not sound that impressive, it’s still more than what an average OnlyFans creator makes in a month.
How much do Twitch streamers make per viewer?
One of the best things about Twitch is that you don’t make money just from your subscribers. Viewers also generate a small amount of profit. For instance, you get roughly $3.50 per 1,000 views.
Of course, this doesn’t apply to everyone. You have to pass a certain threshold to become eligible for getting paid per viewer.
How many viewers do you need to make money on Twitch?
To get paid for views, you need to have roughly 500 regular viewers.
This is not that difficult, even with some less popular (niche) games. Without this threshold, the platform would have to pay some smaller streamers in cent fractions.
How much do Twitch streamers make per ad?
Advertising revenue on Twitch varies depending on the number of viewers and subscribers. According to CNBC, a Twitch streamer can make about $250 per 100 subscribers from ad revenue.
How much do Twitch streamers make from affiliate sales?
Affiliate sales can be a great boost to a Twitch streamer’s income. However, we should mention streamers can only cash out when they’ve surpassed the payout threshold ($50, $100 for wire transfers).
In other words, it might be a while until one gets any income from this.
We should also mention that a Twitch streamer can’t be an affiliate and a partner but can only opt for one option. However, successful affiliates can become partners if they meet the criteria.
By becoming partners, they could:
- Monetize channel with ads
- Have no limit on the quality of video
- Have sponsors
How much do Twitch streamers make from sponsorships?
Sponsorships are a bit harder to come by.
First of all, you need a substantial following to get there. Being an average streamer with those 100 subscribers is likely not going to cut it.
Moreover, every sponsorship is completely unique. This means some streamers may earn more and some less, depending on the terms and conditions of the contract signed with the sponsor.
Overall, it will take a while before newbie Twitch streamers can even think of earning from sponsorships.
How much do Twitch streamers make from donations?
Viewers can donate money to Twitch streamers in the form of “bits,” and streamers can later convert them into money. These are worth approximately $0.01 each.
But how much do they receive in donations on average?
There are a couple of things that make this estimation problematic. First of all, donations are completely unpredictable. And second of all, there are no bottom or top limitations for the size of the donation.
Therefore, you cannot roughly estimate how much donations would contribute to your overall Twitch earnings. However, one thing’s for sure — beginner Twitch streamers usually have to wait a while before receiving their first donation.
Some Twitch streamers get donations of $75,000 or $100,000, while the biggest donation in Twitch history was made by Twitch itself — a whopping $1,000,000.
How Much Do Top Twitch Streamers Make?
Veteran streamers who invest around 40 hours per week on Twitch can earn as much as $3,000 to $5,000 per month. Of course, this average amount refers to money received from ads, subscriptions, affiliate sales, donations, and views.
Some of the highest-earning streaming channels on Twitch are:
- CriticalRole: $9,626,712
- xQc: $8,454,427
- Summit1g: $5,847,541
- Tfue: $5,295,582
- NICKMERCS: $5,096,642
Meanwhile, channels with the largest number of subscribers currently are:
- Ninja: 18.3 million
- auronplay: 13 million
- Rubious: 12 million
- Ibai: 11.1 million
- Tfue: 11.1 million
How Much Do Small Twitch Streamers Make?
While there’s no definition of the term “small Twitch streamer,” it is usually understood that those who aren’t Twitch partners and have less than 75 viewers on average are small streamers.
Some estimates indicate that small Twitch streamers make approximately between $50 and $1,500 per month.
Keep in mind that streaming on Twitch is a competitive field. This means that while there’s no limitation on how much you can earn, there’s no guaranteed income either.
In some niches, becoming even a small streamer, let alone a partner, is an uphill battle.
For instance, for lesser-known games like Europa Universalis IV, top streamers (during the peak hour) are lucky if they reach 1,500 viewers. Meanwhile, for a League of Legends streamer, it’s completely normal (even average) to have tens of thousands of viewers (consistently).
Tips for Growing Average Twitch Income
There are several things you can do to ensure your income increases. Let’s check them out.
Leverage your influence on other platforms
Seeing as how many Twitch streamers get discovered on YouTube, you can work on building your following on this platform and posting videos frequently.
However, this drastically increases the amount of work required. Still, this is something that virtually every successful streamer does.
Aside from it boosting your Twitch earnings, this can also be an opportunity for you to capitalize on YouTube ads and views.
Launch your own line of merch
While this may appear as something reserved for those who already have a following, it can go the other way around, as well.
You see, having merch can help you become a brand sooner than expected. Just remember — it’s the quality of the merch that will affect both the cost and the sales.
Aside from using your influence outside Twitch to earn more, you can also try some on-platform methods. For instance, you could:
- Make a subathon (a subscriber marathon) – prolong the duration of your stream by a certain amount of time every time you get a new subscriber.
- Start a 24-hour stream – although it seems tough, making this extra effort can be worth it in the long run. It can increase the time window during which you can be discovered, which could lead to making some serious money on Twitch.
- Temporarily transition to other games – if you want to attract different profiles of viewers and subscribers, you could consider streaming different types of games. For example, besides streaming your chosen game, you could also sometimes stream highly-anticipated games that are just getting released.
- Run a Patreon page – some streamers decide to increase their average Twitch streamer salary by simultaneously running a Patreon page as well. This way, they provide extra content for their patrons (like downloadable save game files if they’re playing a single-player game).
- Set unique challenges – if you want to create a fun experience for your audience and thereby possibly attract more subscribers, you could set some challenges such as difficult achievements and speed runs.
So, does being a Twitch streamer pay off?
When you put everything together (subscriptions, donations and bits, ads, sponsorships, and affiliate marketing) — it might. If everything goes your way, you could make as much as $1,500 per month with 100 subscribers.
Keep in mind that running a successful Twitch career is far more difficult than it appears at first. It takes time to get those 100 subscribers (perhaps months), during which you’ll be working virtually for free.
Second, you should never underestimate the working hours of a dedicated streamer. Although not your traditional nine-to-five job, streaming on Twitch still has its challenges and can be time-consuming.
Lastly, you’ll get the best results if you manage to diversify your Twitch streamer income. Make sure more than just your streaming contributes to it — use your influence on social media, make your content fun, and try out affiliate marketing. Although not key factors, they all can greatly contribute to your Twitch earnings.
A Twitch streamer makes approximately $2.50 a month for every subscriber they get.
An average Twitch streamer has approximately 100 subscribers. If we count their earnings from subscriptions only, this amounts to about $3,000 per year. However, Twitch streamers can also earn from ads, donations, and sponsorships as well. Therefore, they could earn even more.
When Twitch streamers get a donation, they get it in bits. It is estimated a single bit is worth $0.01. However, how many bits will be donated to them each time they stream can rarely be predicted. Some streamers can wait months for a single donation, while others can earn $2–10 in donations per stream.