The question of “How do I become a twitch affiliate and start making money” has been flooding my DMs…
So I want to lay down a two-part answer. The technical process of becoming a twitch affiliate, the requirements and process. Then talking about how to truly make money as a live streamer and what it will actually take.
Part 1: How Do I become a Twitch Affiliate?
We are living in the most amazing time. Technology has made our world so much better and more fun. If you told people you could earn a part-time (and in special cases a full-time) living while playing video games and making friends you would be laughed at.
Before 2017, if you weren't a Twitch partner it was unrealistically hard to monetize. But today I am happy to say the landscape is changing and a lot more people are going to get paid to play.
There wasn't a lot of purpose in giving small streams ad revenue sharing or subscriptions. Those require a certain volume and quality to be effective. It made sense that those were for partners only.
But as Bits (Twitch's in-house currency and donation system) have matured, Twitch needs more places where people can spend bits. It will be interesting to see if any other requirements are needed for a sub button.
How do I apply to be a Twitch Affiliate?
You don't. Twitch affiliates will be invited by Twitch once requirements are met. They are sending them out in batches initially.
What are the requirements to be a Twitch Affiliate?
From the Twitch Blog:
The criteria is likely to change over time as the program develops. At launch, we’ll be inviting non-partnered streamers who have:
- At least 500 total minutes broadcast in the last 30 days
- At least 7 unique broadcast days in the last 30 days
- An average of 3 concurrent viewers or more over the last 30 days
- At least 50 Followers
So go into your Twitch dashboard to see if you have been hitting these benchmarks.
What is a unique broadcast?
It means that concurrent viewership died down to almost zero. If you look in your dashboard it should be quite clear to see unique broadcasts rather than just disconnecting or returning after 15 minutes of being offline.
Bits are now going to be available globally and are on sale for first time buyers. But who cares we are content creators not consumers.
Part 2: How do I Make Money Streaming?
The real reason I'm writing this post is because I know the Twitch affiliate launch is going to cause a lot more people to hear that you can make money streaming video games.
I want people to have a realistic understanding of what it takes and also to have a plan so there is a real chance they can achieve their goal.
Let's review the ways you can actually receive money while you are streaming.
Ways to Make Money Streaming
Donations – You are entertaining and people are grateful and want to “tip” you. It happens through paypal. There is a small fee.
Bits – Twitch's currency used to “tip” and “cheer” on streamers.
Subscriptions – People can get special benefits as a subscriber and pay $5 a month, you get $2.50 per month they are subscribed to your channel.
Affiliate Sales – You can have banners on your channel and send traffic to websites where you get commissions. Many streamers use Amazon and G2A (frowned upon now).
Sponsorships – Similar to affiliates but working directly with brands to help them grow their awareness.
Patreon – Or some other offsite subscription for content setup.
The reality of the platform…it's competitive.
Now let's just review one more thing…in 2015 there was a peak monthly broadcaster number of 2.1 million. That is a lot of fucking streamers on one platform. And that is 2 years ago! Nothing rivals it.
During that same time there was 13476 partners. Less than 1% were even making a part-time income. Not all partners make a lot of money.
So you need to be real, becoming an affiliate isn't going to be life changing for most people. It might mean an extra $50 a week in bits. Donations are still going to be low volume in streams with less than 100 people.
At this time it's not clear whether Affiliates will get 50% revenue sharing on subscriptions. That isn't implemented yet.
I just want people to be realistic. Not coming into my inbox saying they want to start streaming, haven't done a single thing and expect to make money in any short-term. Impossible.
This is how you make money on twitch.
You create content that people want to talk about. It's called community. Without this aspect you will go nowhere.
There has to be one thing that everyone has in common in your community. A shared interest.
Sometimes if you are really entertaining or educational, then the communal interest is you.
But other times when you are new to streaming and don't have a lot of natural talent then you should create a community around something else, but you should just be the leader. You should be a facilitator.
If you can't build a following, you won't have viewers and you certainly won't make money. Your followingi will grow in direct proportion to the value you offer your viewers.
Value can be entertainment – you can just be insanely funny and do well.
Value can be educational – you can help people learn a difficult game.
Value can be time saved – you can help people save time by curating resources and being a community leader who provides value by doing extra research for others who don't have the time.
The point is you have to stop thinking about money before you think about your community.
You have to give something before you ask. It is too competitive to think you can just walk in and syphon funds from the industry while there are 2 million other streamers who want to be rewarded as well.
You need to play the long game. You need extreme patience. You have to be in it because you love it.
Too many people think it would be fun to get paid to play games and then feel entitled to have it without working hard.
Top streamers put years into building their community.
Once you have a thriving community you will have the foundation of a successful twitch stream which can then think about monetizing through the various means.
But if you have money on your mind, then you will not have the will to stick with it during the tough times. You won't put in the 8 hour streams just for 4 viewers. Because you are in it for you and not them.
If you are just starting out then I would read every post on this site, download our guide and start networking in a community that interests you. Meet other streamers by joining their streams and learning from them and being a part of their community first. This is something many people won't do because they think in a competitive mentality rather than a collaborative approach.
Only hard work will take you where you want to go here. So I hope if you decide to do it you are ready for a long journey that will be worth it whether you make money or not I assure you that.
I really enjoyed reading this article. I would love to be an affiliate someday, and this helped give me an idea of what I need to aim for.
Very helpful! I have all the requirements of affiliate except my viewer count is avg of 2, which is weird because I usually have 4+ viewers. My viewer count usually counts my Pc as one, so do they count that as one too? Or is it taken out of the avg? Last night I had 25 viewers at one point so hopefully that can raise my average.
Oh also when you say you need to have something in common with your viewers are you suggesting that we focus on one game or activity with our stream? I do a variety of things right now.
Great article, I wish I read it before starting but luckily I love playing chess and streaming. So I see myself doing it for the long haul. Thanks for the great resource!