Streaming videos on Twitch can earn you some pocket money, but making it a full-time job isn’t easy. You’ll probably need around 1,000 loyal subscribers before you’ll want to quit your day job.
How much can you make?
The good news is there are many ways to money using Twitch, including partnerships, sponsorships, ad revenue, tiered subscriptions and tips (known as Bit donations), plus Twitch videos which can be repurposed to make money on YouTube, too.
The top-earning Twitch streamer, Ninja (aka Richard “Tyler” Blevins), has roughly 12 million subscribers, and earns over $US5 ($7) million annually from streaming popular games like Fortnite. Consulting.com has this breakdown of his estimated earnings:
- Subscriptions: $US3,955,571 ($5,321,825)
- Ad Revenue: $US509,521 ($685,510)
- Bit Donations: $US316,355 ($425,624)
- Estimated Sponsorship: $US600,000 ($807,240)
- Estimated YouTube Compensation: $US36,000 ($48,434)
Estimating income is complicated
Figuring out a living wage from Twitch is where it gets more complicated. The key metric for estimating revenue is concurrent views for a given livestream, as Twitch (for partnerships) and advertisers are looking to measure engagement. Having a high view count will also help you attract paid subscribers willing to shell out between $US4.99 ($7) – $US24.99 ($34) per month. What complicates matters is that while paying subscriber and views are important, they’re not strongly correlated. A streamer can have many views and few subscribers, or vice versa, and this affects how much money you can earn. It really depends on the streamer, follower engagement, region and the topic of the streamer’s videos.
OK, what about a ballpark estimate?
Let’s say you’re a streamer that works typical eight-hour days, five days a week, and you have a consistent rate of 1000 views per video, with 1000 subscribers (paying an average of $US3.5 ($5) as Twitch takes half of that revenue). Sponsorships for accounts can range from one cent to up to $US1 ($1.40) per viewer as you get closer to 10,000 subscriptions — let’s say you’re on the lower end and average three cents per view. A breakdown of your income might look like this:
- 10 videos a week (ad rates typically pay $US3.50 ($5) per 1,000 views) = $US140 ($188) per month
- 1000 subscribers paying $US3.50 ($5) each = $US3500 ($4,709) per month
- Bit donations (rough estimate) = $US100 ($135)
- Sponsorships (five 1000-view videos at a three cent rate) = $US150 ($202)
- Youtube ($US5 ($7) per thousand views ) = $50
That totals $US3940 ($5,301) per month, which is $US51,220 ($68,911) per year. Of course, sadly, this is before taxes and expenses, so you’ll have to do your own maths to know whether Twitch streaming is a plausible option for you. That said, audience growth should be a consideration: It can take years to build a loyal fanbase, but Twitch also keeps growing, so if you have 1,000 subscribers you might be well on your way to making more money already.
(Check out this Nerdwallet post for more information on revenue sharing using Twitch, with more details on how partnerships, tiered subscriptions, and Bit donations work).