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Twitch is cutting subscription revenue for top streamers

The long-standing 70/30 subscription share rate is changing in a big way for Twitch's biggest streamers.

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The topic of subscription revenue sharing has popped up at Twitch and things appear to be getting ugly between the company and its top streamers. For years, top Twitch streamers have typically made a 70/30 split off of viewer subscriptions. However, the company is now looking to change the way things are done and reducing splits to 50/50. Streamers are understandably infuriated and, in an effort to try to calm the waters, Twitch President Dan Clancy stepped forward on Wednesday and addressed the community.

The full letter has been posted to the Twitch Blog. It explains that premium streamers can retain their 70/30 split for the first $100,000 USD made over a 12-month period, at which point the share falls to 50/50. It's a change that stands to go into effect starting on June 1, 2023. However, it's the official explanation of why Twitch is moving away from 70/30 splits that appears to be getting the most attention.

When we first established a 50/50 revenue share split, it was to signal that we’re in this together. You all do the amazing work you do to create great content, engage with your audience, and grow communities. On our side of the partnership, it’s our responsibility to make continuous investments in the products and people that make your growth possible.

At the time of this posting, more than 22,000 of you have weighed in on UserVoice asking us to move all streamers to 70/30 and to pay streamers faster. Let’s chat about the latter part first.

As you probably heard by now, we’re in the middle of rolling out the largest change to payouts in years by cutting the payout threshold in half to $50. This is an important middle step that will help streamers put money in their pockets now, while getting us closer to our goal of same day payouts and lower thresholds.

Investments like these are paying off for streamers. Products like Prime Subs, Community Gifting, Hype Train, and the Ads Incentive Program, to name a few, have driven an increase of 27% more streamer revenue per viewer hour every year over the last five years. This means the same viewer hour now earns you three times more money than it did five years ago, on average. Our investments into your monetization options have already and continue to put more money into streamers’ pockets than 20% more subs revenue share would have.

Prime Subs often get lost in the conversation when it comes to revenue share. For Prime Subs, we pay streamers the same amount they’d receive for a regular subscription even though it is included as an added benefit of their Prime subscription. Combined with other monetization products, Prime Subs increase your effective revenue share by approximately 15%, to about 65% total. This number varies by streamer size and location, but subscription revenue share is not the full picture on revenue share for streamers.

Lastly, we have to talk about the cost of our service. Delivering high definition, low latency, always available live video to nearly every corner of the world is expensive. Using the published rates from Amazon Web Services’ Interactive Video Service (IVS) — which is essentially Twitch video — live video costs for a 100 CCU streamer who streams 200 hours a month are more than $1000 per month. We don’t typically talk about this because, frankly, you shouldn’t have to think about it. We’d rather you focus on doing what you do best. But to fully answer the question of "why not 70/30," ignoring the high cost of delivering the Twitch service would have meant giving you an incomplete answer.

Twitch Creator Dashboard

Source: Twitch

It's this reasoning that many subscribers, as well as outside spectators to this news story, are finding bothersome. Yes, costs are a real issue. However, sympathy for the company starts to go down when realizing that they're owned by Amazon. Even though overall viewing and streaming numbers have declined, livestreaming on Twitch remains big business to the point that many top streamers consider it their main income source. Many top streamers, including Jacksepticeye, FWiz, and Big E have responded to Twitch directly and expressed their displeasure. AbleGamers' Steven Spohn notes in his response that these actions are meaningless because they essentially cap the growth for the top creators while also doing nothing for the everyday streamer.

The timing of Twitch's statement could also prove to be a problem for the company. TwitchCon is a few weeks away and it comes just as the company's top streamers are either moving away from exclusivity or leaving Twitch entirely for new pastures like YouTube Gaming. Twitch is betting on viewers gravitating towards "the brand" and less towards individual personalities, but it could be a dangerous bet to take, especially as the company's convention celebrating those personalities is about to take place.

There's a lot more to watch with this Twitch story, so we'll be sure to follow it at Shacknews. The irony of it happening during SUBtember is not lost on us. Keep it here for any updates.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    September 21, 2022 10:45 AM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Twitch is cutting subscription revenue for top streamers

    • reply
      September 21, 2022 10:59 AM

      So thats why people were bitching about Twitch this morning on various other social networks.

    • reply
      September 21, 2022 12:27 PM

      I wonder how they'd react to keeping 70/30, but Twitch gets a piece of direct donations.

    • reply
      September 21, 2022 12:42 PM

      twitch is imploding. completely adrift. from what I understand, poki and hasan got scammed, and then mobilize their followers to get gambling banned. but the hot tub streamers stay.

      meanwhile, more and more defect to youtube.

      • reply
        September 21, 2022 12:44 PM

        I want to sell my bath water too

      • reply
        September 21, 2022 1:51 PM

        If YouTube is serious about competing in this space they’d make a separate app or at least make live streams easier to find in their existing app. This bolt it on approach makes discoverability impossible.

        • reply
          September 21, 2022 2:17 PM

          for sure. I don't understand why they haven't capitalized on rebranding, but I also understand they are wary of Mixer. google's achilles heel has been fuckloads of offshoots, and then they frantically try to claw everything back.

          so yeah I can also understand why they don't try to rebrand it, they are fucking terrible at doing so. keep everything under "youtube"

        • reply
          September 21, 2022 4:38 PM

          It's not like I make any real money off my Twitch, but even then I haven't bothered to mess around with YouTube's streaming because there's no good system for discoverability. I'm honestly kinda surprised TikTok, Snap, or Instagram haven't tried to make inroads into that space.

      • reply
        September 21, 2022 5:38 PM

        Poki and hasan got scammed? By what?

        • reply
          September 21, 2022 5:57 PM

          Another streamer who wanted the money to gamble with, but lied about why he wanted it. Apparently it was the trigger for the recent Twitch ban on gambling streaming.

      • reply
        September 21, 2022 6:38 PM

        twitch used it as an excuse to ban gambling, EXCEPT SPORTS & POKER, and oh look Amazon/DraftKings partnership:

        https://www.draftkings.com/about/news/2022/09/amazon-selects-draftkings-as-a-sponsor-and-the-exclusive-tnf-odds-provider/

    • reply
      September 21, 2022 12:53 PM

      How am I supposed to afford my 3rd Ferrari now?

      • reply
        September 21, 2022 4:28 PM

        Sell your Lamborghini

        • reply
          September 21, 2022 4:39 PM

          Sell my daily driver? I'm not some fucking peasant. This is ridiculous.

          • reply
            September 21, 2022 8:37 PM

            Peasants only have one of them.

    • reply
      September 21, 2022 6:43 PM

      That reasoning is terrible. Especially when you consider that Twitch has THE WORST video quality of all the major streaming services that existed. You can do 4k on YouTube. You could do 4k on Mixer.

      Twitch is limited to 6Mbps 1080p and lots of people set their resolution lower because the bitrate is too low at 1080p so it looks like a smeary mess on fast paced games.

      What a joke.

      • reply
        September 21, 2022 7:16 PM

        also twitch's explanation of their bandwidth costs is suspect at best:

        Using the published rates from Amazon Web Services’ Interactive Video Service (IVS) — which is essentially Twitch video — live video costs for a 100 CCU streamer who streams 200 hours a month are more than $1000 per month.

        why would twitch, an amazon subsidy, be charged the "published rates" for AWS?

        https://blog.twitch.tv/en/2022/09/21/a-letter-from-twitch-president-dan-clancy-on-subscription-revenue-shares/

        and the published rates even say :

        "Discounted pricing
        If you plan to use high volumes and are willing to make certain minimum commits, discounted pricing is available."

        https://aws.amazon.com/ivs/pricing/


        • reply
          September 21, 2022 7:22 PM

          Yeah, high volume users never pay the published rates for anything in AWS. And you better believe that Twitch is going to get the very best negotiated rates of anyone given the nepotism involved.

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        September 21, 2022 7:19 PM

        Of course it’s bs. It’s something they can say instead of we want money.

    • reply
      September 22, 2022 5:46 AM

      Good ridance.

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