While Twitch has been celebrating its 10th anniversary for the last month, the community at large is anything but jubilant. Yesterday, #TwitchDoBetter began to trend on Twitter due to a growing sentiment that Twitch is not doing enough to support creators. The most recent community-based release was adding 350+ Tags, something that the community had been asking for many years. Meanwhile, monetization on the platform seems to be getting monthly releases in the form of new ad formats, local pricing, and functionality to further gamify subscriptions and bits. While Twitch seems focused on securing the bag, creators say enough of the 50% split that Twitch takes from their subscription revenue. In greater numbers, they are finding new ways to earn money and educating their audiences on how to best financially support Twitch streamers.
I’ve personally been advocating that streamers should diversify their earnings from the platform as much as possible. This is often met with agreement by fellow creators, but rarely action – not because they don’t want to, but because they don’t know-how. Indeed it can be A LOT to try and make a streaming career happen while also coming up with alternate ways to get paid – something I’ll be addressing much more in future content. Meanwhile, Twitch capitalized on a culture that encourages financially supporting creators, and they receive credit for that in the form of the 50% split. But times have changed, and streamers recognize they deserve more, with many believing that the current industry standard of 70% is a reasonable middle ground.
PS. There’s a GREAT Tool at the bottom of the page you’ll want to check out!
Can Streamers Get a Better Cut?
The difficult reality though, is that Twitch will not simply give streamers more of a percentage of income because they asked. To effect that kind of change, streamers need to put financial pressure on Twitch that if they don’t give streamers a bigger cut, then streamers will simply cut Twitch out any of their revenue completely. That means, quite simply, moving away from Subscriptions as a main driver of income. For a creator class already struggling financially (Partners often have full-time jobs, despite being the best in class creators), this would be exceptionally difficult, especially when Subscriptions have been so deeply gamified. A badge, ad-free, unique emotes, status in the community. If there were ever an award for addictive financial products, Subscriptions would be in contention.
That leads us to the question of alternatives… What is the best way to support streamers financially to ensure that less capital is lost to fees and cuts, and more money ends up in the creators’ pockets? We spent several hours on stream doing the math to figure that out!
How to Best Financially Support Twitch Streamers by Tipping Source?
Once we acknowledge that there is ONE existing support tool built into Twitch, Bits, and what Bits stemmed from, Tips, we can break those down further. The following charts show you exactly how much capital is lost from each financial support method at various amounts. Using Bits as a comparison point, we compared them to Tips via Paypal, Paypal Micropayments, and SEPay. Some of those are not available in every country, but you may want to check if they are! We calculated everything in USD for simplicity.
Twitch Bits aren’t that bad in terms of the cut they take from the buyer. You know exactly how much you’re getting for every bit – 1 US Cent. The capital lost to Twitch’s cut in the worst-case scenario (yellow) is 29%. That’s much more in line with the industry standard of 70-30%. Buying larger amounts reduces that loss to 19%. Bits are protected from chargebacks (did you know Subs are not?) Best of all, Bits fills in the gaps if you opt-out of subscriptions. First, Bits offers you a chat badge to be identified by. Second, Bits Emotes are unlocked PERMANENTLY, unlike Subscriptions which are monthly. While Twitch still gets a cut, it’s a much lower one, meaning that Twitch WILL feel the financial effects if people switched to bits instead of subs, and MORE money enters streamers’ pockets.
Paypal Tips and Paypal Micropayment Tips
As you can see from these two charts, Paypal offers an attractive option for streamers. These charts reflect the new changes to Paypal Digital Payments and look at their Micropayments option. Before doing this, I wasn’t even aware of the Micropayments functionality. For streamers, a combination of both (you can do that!) seems to be an ideal answer. One of the caveats to this is that direct tips comes with the risk of chargebacks. If you have a level of trust with the people giving you money via this method, you have less to fear – but for people new to the community, you may want to pre-emptively refund if you’re concerned. Also worth noting that Twitch Bits remain the BETTER method for small amounts. Anything less than the Yellow Highlighted amount (for the smallest amount) is better spent via bits – anything less than 196 Bits ($1.96).
StreamElements Pay is another option not available in every country, but you should check it out if it’s available in yours. The fees are significantly lower than Paypal and come with some huge protection that Paypal does not offer: Chargeback Protection. That’s a huge thing that streamers are concerned with when accepting direct tips. The lower fees are also fantastic. THAT SAID, Twitch Bits remain the best option for smaller amounts – anything less than $1.09.
A Subscription Alternative with Most of the Perks
If you want to move away from subscribing BUT still want most of the perks they include, we have to address each of the main features and find an alternative.
- Ad Free.
- Channel Badge.
- Supports Creators.
Ad-free is easy. For $8.99 a month, you can purchase Twitch Turbo, which offers ad-free, a chat badge, and some other minor features. Great start and perhaps the most important overall feature of a subscription to a channel – but now you get it sitewide.
A channel badge is easily solved by the streamer by putting their focus on bits. Bits Badges have the same impact as sub badges in that they indicate how much someone has given.
Emotes are becoming more fluid on Twitch. In some channels, you get Follower Emotes, which may be rolled out to everyone on the platform eventually. There are your core ‘community specific’ emotes. Bits also come with Emotes that you unlock at $10, $50, $100, $250, $500, $750 and so on. Unlike Sub emotes, Bits Emotes are premanetly unlocked.
Lastly, supporting creators is the name of the game – Bits helps tackle the previous two perks, while tipping via any other option is even better to put more into creators’ pockets.
Here is a simple calculator to understand just how much of an impact you can have. Assuming that Ad-Free is a MUST have, and everything else is optional to you – you can see just how much of a financial impact you can have on creators. In many cases, you can give MORE money to creators and spend less money overall!
Huge credit to SaltyWyvern for making this!