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How to Get Paid for Streaming

28
Jun

How to Get Paid for Streaming

Friday, June 28, 2019

Image courtesy of AdWeek.


A professional streamer who plays video games full-time -- 40 hours a week -- can earn $3,000 to $5,000 per month, and this only from the subscriber's button. This doesn’t account for what those players receive in donations or make from ad revenue.

While it won’t be easy, there are ways you can make that same amount of money doing the same thing -- streaming video games. Here’s the rundown of what we’ll talk about in this article:

  • Earn Money Bit by Bit
  • Don’t Forget to Like and Subscribe
  • Make Your Channel Donation Nation
  • Get Sponsored

Earn Money Bit by Bit

Back in June 2016, Twitch introduced Cheering, which is a way for fans to support their favorite streamers. A Cheer is a chat message that uses Bits, which are animated emotes available for purchase.

Simply by watching a 30-second ad, viewers can earn anywhere from five to 100 Bits. If you run out or want more, you can purchase them via Amazon Payments -- 100 Bits cost $1.40.

So, when exactly do viewers use Bits? The good news is that they can cheer for you at any point during your stream! While it’s common for viewers to cheer whenever they like something specific a streamer did, they don’t have to limit it to just then.

To use Bits, a viewer types “cheer” followed by a number -- for example, “cheer100” -- into the chat box, which costs the viewer $1.40. However, viewers can Cheer any amount they want, with the limit being “cheer 10000.” That would cost a viewer $140, and the streamer would receive $100.

Cheering benefits the streamers and the viewers -- talk about the best of both worlds! Obviously, the streamers benefit by receiving the money. Viewers who frequently Cheer on their favorite streamers earn Cheer Chat Badges. Often, streamers will shout out those who cheer for them, too, so viewers get the added bonus of recognition, too.

Cheer Chat Badges are as follows: 1 (gray), 100 (purple), 1,000 (green), 5,000 (blue), 10,000 (red), and 100,000 (yellow).
There are six Cheer Chat Badges that viewers can earn, depending on how often the cheer for their favorite streamers. Image courtesy of Twitch.

Don’t Forget to Like, Subscribe, and Advertise

In order to have a subscribe button on your page, you need to become a Twitch Partner or Twitch Affiliate. If you have at least 500 regular viewers, you can apply to be a Twitch Partner.

With the Twitch Partner status comes the “subscribe” button; each time a viewer clicks that button, Twitch gives you about $2.50 per month.

Basically, a Twitch subscription is a scheduled, monthly donation of a certain amount of money. You can choose between $4.99, $9.99, or $24.99, and Twitch and you split that right down the middle.

A finger hovers over a "subscribe" button.
Make sure that you mention in livestreams that the subscribe button is only available on the website. Otherwise, the people watching on the Twitch console or mobile app won’t be able to subscribe.

With a Twitch subscription, you can also advertise on your page. For every 1,000 views an ad receives, Twitch pays you about $2. If you’re a smaller channel that doesn’t have a ton of subscribers, this might not prove a very reliable source of income. However, if you continue to grow your subscriber count, this a way you can earn a little bit of extra cash.

Make Your Channel Donation Nation

Adding a donation button to your channel is something every Twitch user can do. However, just because you have one doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll profit from it.

Donations can range anywhere from $1 to thousands of dollars. For example, an anonymous donor recently gave $130,000 to the University of Missouri esports team. This will help pay for scholarships, travel costs, and renovation of the facility.

This shows "Mizzou Esports" with the mascot, Truman the tiger, above.
The anonymous donation to the University of Missouri esports team came at the beginning of May 2019 and will allow the organization to provide more scholarships for players. Image courtesy of KOMU.com.

While you obviously want your donation button on your page, you don’t want it to overwhelm your page. If viewers want to donate, they will find the link.

No matter the donation amount you receive, you always want to be appreciative of it. Taking the time to thank the viewers who donated money to you will show them you care.

Donations go through PayPal, which means they aren’t protected by Twitch like, say, bits. That being said, you want to air on the side of caution with donations. Those who donate have 180 days to file a dispute with PayPal, so make sure you don’t spend the money until after that amount of time.

Get Sponsored

Being sponsored by a brand is another way you can make money as a streamer. This means that gamers somehow need to promote the sponsor’s product, whether it be by shouting it out during a stream or wearing merchandise with the brand’s logo.

Sometimes, sponsors will reach out to you and ask if they can sponsor you, but more often than not it’s the other way around. So, how exactly do you get sponsored? Lucky for you, we have a whole article dedicated to just that.


While you might not be making over $300,000 per year -- which is what is rumored some of the most popular streamers make -- these are ways you might be able to make a little bit of extra cash.

Plus, there are other benefits, too. Getting a Cheer or receiving a donation from a viewer can boost your self-confidence and make you feel good about yourself and your gaming abilities. Both of those are ways that viewers can say, “hey, I like what you’re doing.” And, you get paid for it. That’s esports marketing 101, folks.

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