The labyrinthine mire that is Twitch’s streamer revenue-sharing system is getting both a little more streamlined and more convoluted in equal measure.
In the latest round of Twitch switching up its payment model, the Amazon-owned streaming platform will allow even more lower-tier streamers can claim a piece of the pie. Still, it remains unclear whether creators can expect to make more or less money from subscriptions as time goes on when they’re not making as much from Amazon Prime Gaming subscription tokens.
Twitch CEO Dan Clancy wrote in a blog post Wednesday the company was trying to “streamline” its payment structure to be more “transparent” and “sustainable” long-term. It sounds ominous, though it does mean there will be far more streamers able to make some amount of money for their efforts. Starting in May, Twitch is opening its revenue-sharing Partner Plus program to Affiliates as well as Partners. Affiliates are streamers who have managed to reach 50 followers and stream for eight hours on seven different days, whereas Partners need to amass 1,000 followers and do 25 hours of broadcasting on 12 unique streams in a month’s time.
To mark the change, the revenue sharing scheme is now simply being called the “Plus Program.” This will open up some more revenue-sharing options to hundreds of thousands more streamers who can’t claim anywhere near enough fame as other top channels, though they can’t expect to make much moolah off a handful of subscriptions. Those affiliates are limited to a 60% share of paid and gift subscriptions to their channel, compared to the 70 / 30 split of partners.
Twitch previously introduced a $100,000 cap on who would get the fabled 70 / 30 revenue-sharing split from subscriptions. Clancy wrote that streamers claimed the cap “limited the earnings and growth opportunities for impacted streamers and served as a disincentive.”
Starting immediately, there’s no longer a $100,000 cap in order to savor the 70% share. There’s still a minimum threshold streamers need to hit to access that better revenue share, but the required number of “Plus Points”—which they receive from recurring paid subs each months—is being reduced from 350 to 300. Additionally, any streamer who can maintain 100 Plus Points for three months in a row can access the 60 / 40 split on paid and gift subs.
That’s all well and good, though there are a few ways that Twitch will also restrict revenue for major streamers or at least those who made some of their dough from Amazon Prime members. Twitch maintains a program granting monthly subscription tokens to Prime members. Until now, those tokens would count just like any other sub for the purpose of payouts. That’s changing by June 3 this year.
Instead of getting paid as a percentage from those subs, streamers will instead receive a fixed rate payment for every time a viewer uses a token to subscribe. It depends on the country and how much a streamer gets paid. For places like Canada and the U.S., the fixed payment is $2.25. For the UK, it’s $1.80, and in countries like Russia, a sub is worth just $0.40.
Clancy emphasized this shouldn’t make a big impact on most streamers, adding that this change will only result in a 5% decrease for these subscribers who use their Prime Gaming sub tokens. Still, creators on Twitch will have to wait and see whether any of the changes to the model offset any lost revenue.
“For some of these streamers, eliminating the $100K cap will offset this impact, but this will not be true for all streamers,” the Twitch CEO wrote.
Twitch has been under the gun as of late, especially as the company now has half the number of workers it did a year ago. The company laid off a full 35% of its global staff earlier in the month, which was around 500 employees. The company had already dropped 400 employees back in March last year, shortly after Clancy took on his position as CEO. These changes to revenue sharing don’t seem to be an example of Twitch clawing back all that much money as it enters into what may be a tough 2022. We’ll have to see how else the streamer expects to make more money from its convoluted business model.