Saturday, May 06, 2017

Twitch Affiliate

Last week I had a viewer ask me if I was hoping to be part of the Twitch Affiliate program. I didn't even know what that was but told them I'd take a look at it when I got a chance. Well, it turned out I'd already been invited to take part in it and just hadn't noticed the email or notification. Their criteria for who they'd invite is public but they were going to be rolling invites out in waves so while I certainly qualified it wasn't clear if I'd have gotten in yet or not. It turns out I was invited the first day they started inviting people so I'm taking that to mean I'm doing pretty well when it comes to not being a partner.

For those who may not know, until last week there were two types of streamers on Twitch. Partnered streamers (who have a bunch of monetization schemes available to them like monthly subscriptions and ad revenue) and everyone else. Becoming partner requires filling in an application and meeting some nebulous requirements. Now there's a tier in the middle that you can autoqualify for and that brings some of the perks of being a partner and doesn't require a live person to go over your application. It feels like a win-win for both Twitch and up and coming streamers!

Anyway, the requirements to qualify for affiliate are 50 followers, 500 minutes broadcast in the last month, 7 different days live in the last month, and an average of 3 people watching at a time. In April I streamed for 10262 minutes across 22 days with 22 average viewers and I have 899 followers. That's a little more than the minimum!

What does being an affiliate get me? For now, not actually a whole lot. I get access to the bit cheering system and higher priority for getting quality options as their servers allow. The priority thing actually doesn't really change anything because they already had a priority system based on number of current viewers. I guess it'll help if I stream a game where I get significantly below my average number of viewers (those few people might get quality options now when they otherwise wouldn't) but it's really not a big deal.

The bit cheering system is an interesting one. It's something Twitch added a while ago as a way to protect streamers from chargeback fees on various online money sites like PayPal. Basically Twitch will sell people bits and they can use those bits to tip streamers. Streamers then get a payout each month based on the bits they've been given and if someone uses a stolen credit card to buy bits then Twitch will eat the loss instead of the streamer. In return for that protection Twitch takes a significant chunk of the revenue upfront. (A bit is worth 1 cent but Twitch charges you $1.40 for 100 bits. They have bulk discounts too, but they're always taking a pretty big cut.) Now, PayPal also takes a cut of donations too (2.9% + .30), but it seems that fraud notwithstanding it's actually worse for me to get paid via bits than via PayPal. Especially since affiliates need to wait 60 days from the end of a month to get paid for bits. And that they have to pay a fee to get that payment (2% to PayPal is the option I chose)! And if I understand the tax forms they made me fill out in order to sign up the US Government is going to take 30% hostage as well!

There are other ways to get bits than buying them from Twitch, though. People can earn bits by watching ads, apparently, and they can be found in loot crates that they've started giving out in various ways. And obviously no one is going to complain about addition potential revenue streams! It also helps that it's fully integrated to the Twitch system so it's much easier for a viewer to buy some bits and then spread them around when they feel like it instead of having to log in to PayPal or whatever. Getting access to the bit system is definitely a plus!

Coming Soon (tm) they'll be adding on subscriptions, game sales, and ad revenue to Twitch Affiliates, all of which are more exciting to me than cheering was. Subscriptions are a consistent source of revenue and getting even a single channel emote would be really cool. Ad revenue would be nice since Twitch plays ads on my stream without my ability to remove them so getting some recompense for that would be good. And game sales... I know for a fact I'm already selling games to people. Last year I got people back into World of Warcraft from watching me play and I know people have bought things like Factorio and Blood Bowl II because of seeing me play the game and thinking they might like it. So getting a 5% cut of those sales (and making it easier for people to be able to buy the games) just sounds fantastic to me.

So things are looking up. Hopefully I can manage to stay unglutened and put in a string of good streaming days and see where things go from here.

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