In a nutshell:
- Twitch changing its revenue split from 70/30 to 50/50 has led many streamers to consider alternative platforms.
- Despite backlash, Twitch introduced a Partner Plus Program, which offers a temporary return to the 70/30 split but with stringent conditions that make it difficult for smaller creators.
- With growing competition from platforms like YouTube Gaming and Kick, Twitch risks losing its community if it doesn’t address concerns about fair revenue splits and policies.
Recently, Twitch has made massive changes to its platform. From new, stricter branded content guidelines to more restrictive terms of service on multi-streaming, many of these changes have hurt the platform’s standing with its livestreaming community. However, all these decisions pale in comparison to the backlash Twitch faced when it changed its long-standing 70/30 split to 50/50. This switch has single-handedly caused many streamers to look to other platforms as new potential homes for their streams.
So, Twitch streamers, is it time to abandon ship? Or is Twitch still the best place for you to stream? Let’s discuss.
Twitch changes its base revenue split to 50/50
So, what does a switch from a 70/30 revenue split to a 50/50 split mean for Twitch livestreamers? Ultimately, it means partnered streamers will earn less overall. But let’s get into more specifics. Say a streamer receives a tier-one sub, which costs $4.99. Under the 70/30 split, the streamer would receive 70% of the revenue, so about $3.50. Under the new 50/50 split, they would receive 50% of the sub, so $2.50. Now, let’s say a streamer receives 100 tier-one subs. Instead of getting $349.30, they’ll instead receive $249.50. Twitch now pockets nearly $100 more than they would have under the 70/30 split.
Twitch has doubled down on its decision to switch to a 50/50 split, claiming that the previous 70/30 isn’t “viable” for Twitch in the long term. During TwitchCon 2022’s Patch Notes stream, Chief Monetization Officer Mike Minton addressed the topic. “The important thing for me is that me and my teams are 100% focused on improving your ability to make income,” he said. “Could we offer 70/30 widely and broadly? And the answer is no. It simply is not viable for Twitch in the long term, at least as we know things today.”
Putting out the fire
Understandably, Twitch streamers weren’t happy with the decision, and that led to massive backlash. Streamers considered streaming elsewhere, namely YouTube Gaming, which offers a 70/30 split. A former Twitch streamer decided to leave Twitch and start his own streaming platform, in partnership with Stake, named Kick — which offers streamers a 95/5 percent revenue split.
In response to all this, Twitch decided to rework its Partner Program to allow for the 70/30 split again. In June 2023, Twitch announced that qualified streamers would once again receive the 70/30 split if accepted into its new Partner Plus Program. But there was a massive catch. The base split would still remain 50/50. Under the new system, if a streamer is accepted into the Partner Plus Program, they would receive the 70/30 split for subscriptions and gifts for only 12 months, up to $100,000. Once they cross the $100,000 threshold, they would go back to the 50/50 split. The threshold would then reset every calendar year.
While this is a big hit to the larger creators on the platform, it seemed smaller creators would still benefit from the 70/30 if they made under $100,000 per year. Unfortunately, there was another catch. To qualify for the Partner Plus Program, streamers need to maintain 350 recurring paid subs for three consecutive months. That’s no problem for big creators. But for the smaller streamers, that’s incredibly hard to do. So, while technically it’s possible to get a 70/30 split on Twitch still, it’s not as obtainable as Twitch would like you to think.
How the Twitch community has reacted to the new revenue split system
While the chance of still getting a 70/30 revenue split might sound good, the conditions you need to qualify for are not streamer-friendly. And the streamer community knows it. Jonah Veil, a Twitch partner, tweeted, “Just for some transparency, getting 350 individually non-Prime non-gifted subs consistently is really, really, really hard.” Twitch streamer p90princess also said in a tweet, “This new program doesn’t help streamers. If you wanted to help streamers, you would offer this to everyone.”
To get a better idea of who gets to qualify for the new program, Stream Charts tweeted that out of the 42.3K active Twitch Partners in June 2023, only a thousand of them had 350 subs.
Are there other options aside from Twitch?
Despite Twitch still being at the top of the livestreaming industry, it isn’t without its competition. More and more streamers are ditching Twitch for contracts with YouTube Gaming. While YouTube doesn’t clock in the same amount of livestream hours as Twitch does, there are still a lot of benefits to streaming there, especially if you already have a community there. With its 70/30 revenue split and lower eligibility to qualify for its Partner Program, it’s an attractive option. Kick is another popular option due to its 95/5 revenue split. However, the user base is much smaller than Twitch and YouTube. Also, some streamers have reservations about joining Kick due to its lack of moderation. This, in turn, makes the future of Kick uncertain, as it’s not apparent if Kick will be able to grow its user base into the mainstream due to its reputation for hosting controversial streamers and content.
So, should you abandon Twitch? There’s no real right answer here. For a big streamer, a switch is a lot more viable. They can make contract deals and fall back on a loyal fan base wherever they decide to go. For smaller streamers who’ve built their community on Twitch, a switch might not be viable currently if they can’t withstand the dramatic drop in viewership after switching.
But, in the midst of all these controversies, if Twitch continues not to hear its community’s requests for fair splits and policies, then we might see them in decline sooner rather than later.