The livestreaming industry is booming and continues to grow as more creator platforms are investing in livestreaming features. At the top of the market is the gaming-focused livestream platform, Twitch. Twitch is the undisputed leader of livestreaming thanks to its sheer number of watch hours. But bigger doesn’t always mean better. Is Twitch really the best platform for creators to stream on?
With over 50 percent of the average livesteaming watch hours, it’s hard to find any platform that comes remotely close to Twitch in its viewer base and watch hours. However, YouTube recently made a major push towards building up its livestream platform — positioning itself as a serious alternative to Twitch. So, is it better to stream on Twitch or YouTube? Let’s compare what each has to offer streamers.
Twitch vs. YouTube
Building an audience
Both Twitch and YouTube allow creators to build their channels from the ground up. However, overall, it’s easier for a new streamer to build their Twitch channel than on YouTube. While YouTube has a massive user base of over 122 million daily active users, more users watch pre-recorded videos than livestreams. Twitch’s 15 million daily active users are all on the platform to watch livestreams since that’s the platform’s primary form of content. So, Twitch currently has a larger audience for livestreamers than YouTube does, even though YouTube is a bigger platform overall.
Twitch also makes it simple for users to see when the streamers they’re following are live. Twitch organizes streams by categories, too, so it’s simpler for people to find streams relevant to their interests. On YouTube, livestreams have to compete with recorded videos and videos that YouTube recommends. While YouTube does display a “live” icon when a channel on your subscribed channels list is streaming, you have to scroll through your channels to see that indicator. There is also a streaming tab on YouTube, but they’re not organized by category. Instead, they’re organized by what YouTube thinks you’ll like to watch. It’s harder for smaller streamers to break through the algorithm on YouTube because of this. On the other hand, Twitch lists channels based on viewer count. This allows users to specifically look for smaller streamers if they want to.
By far, Twitch has more interactive features creators can use to engage their audience. For example, Twitch allows creators to run polls, place bets with channel points and allows creators to cash in channel points for channel rewards. However, YouTube is catching up to Twitch with features. It recently announced it’s adding the ability to create polls during livestreams. However, Twitch is the clear winner here since it’s the one every other platform’s trying to emulate or integrate with. Interactivity with the livestream’s chat leads to higher viewer retention, meaning there are more opportunities to get higher retention on Twitch due to its stream features.
To monetize your channel on Twitch or YouTube, you have to be accepted into their Partner programs.
It is harder to get partnered on YouTube. You have to have 4000 watch hours in 12 months and over 1000 subscribers to become a YouTube Partner and start making money off of your streams. Primarily, you earn money through YouTube ads, though YouTube allows viewers to donate money to you during the stream. YouTube takes about 30 percent of the donations, leaving you with about 70 percent of the donations.
On Twitch, you either need to be a Twitch Partner or a Twitch Affiliate. To become an Affiliate, you have to stream at least 500 minutes over seven days in the last 30 days. You also have to have a minimum of 50 followers and three concurrent viewers on average. Partners need to stream 25 hours over 12 days in the last 30 days with an average viewership of 75 viewers. It is slightly easier to get partnered on Twitch versus YouTube.
Once you’re accepted, you can receive donations, get subscriptions and earn money through pre- and mid-stream ads. One of the most popular ways streamers can get subscriptions is by asking people to use their one free Twitch Prime on them. Everyone who has Twitch Prime has the ability to sub to one streamer for free every month. Twitch Primes are one of the most lucrative monetization options on any livestreaming platform because it’s free for users to subscribe, allowing creators to earn a cut of the revenue made from their Amazon Prime subscription.
Which is better to stream on: Twitch or YouTube?
Both Twitch and YouTube have their benefits and drawbacks. If you’re the kind of person that wants to have your VODs much more accessible to your audience, YouTube might be your best bet. Twitch makes it easier for you to make a name for yourself when you’re starting without an audience. Many creators use both platforms to utilize the best of both worlds. They stream on Twitch and post their VODs to YouTube. You can also start on Twitch, gain a sizable audience and later make the move to YouTube. Ultimately, you have to decide which platform is best for you. It’s clear that Twitch isn’t the only place where creators can carve a living for themselves.