Battle of the Revenue Splits: Twitch vs YouTube vs Facebook Gaming
Over the past year and a half, watching personable streamers host live streams has become a go-to passtime for many consumers. With a 99% year-on-year growth, live streaming as a form of entertainment is thriving. Not only has it given consumers the human connection they were missing throughout lockdown restrictions, it gave brands an authentic opportunity to target new audiences.
Live streamed content has always been popular within the gaming industry, but it also saw an increase in viewership. In 2020, over 17 billion hours of live streamed content was consumed on Twitch alone. In Q1 of 2021, over 1.1 billion hours of content was streamed on Facebook Gaming.
The increase in popularity of live streamed content has resulted in a rise of streamers. However, the rise in popularity and streamers has led to competition between live streaming platforms.
Recently, Twitch lowered its UK subscription cost from £4.99 to £3.99. Twitch explained that their regional price chances were made to increase affordability for Twitch viewers worldwide and to boost subscribers for streamers. For the first 3 months of the price chance, streamers would receive 100% of the subscription revenue.
While Twitch has confirmed that the regional pricing has increased subscriber numbers, many streamers are calling for Twitch to lower the percentage of profit it takes from subscriptions. Numerous Twitch streamers have called for the platform to stop taking half of its subscription revenue. While some streamers are able to negotiate a smaller split, the majority of streamers will only retail half of the subscription fee.
Twitch streamer Sorrey kicked off the conversation in early August and many other streamers were quick to join in.
Other users claimed that up to 90% of Twitch streamers “don’t even make enough to get paid out every month” and that asking for a 70/30 or 60/40 split in subscriber fee was more than reasonable.
it’s kind of baffling how this is still a thing. Twitch does not deserve to take 50% of revenue when all they do is supply a platform for us to create on and that’s it. Full-time streamers are struggling to pay bills and it’s super sad
However, not all streamers were in agreement. Some came to the Amazon-owned platform’s defence by pointing out how expensive it is to keep Twitch servers up and running and employee costs and marketing that benefit streamers. In addition, the advantage of being on Twitch itself is enough to present streamers with major brand opportunities and sponsorships.
Users were also keen to point out that Twitch’s 50% would also pay for the small streamers that didn’t provide any money to Twitch, but were using Twitch’s resources.
The competition from YouTube and Facebook Gaming
While Twitch may have promised streamers 100% of subscriber profits for three months post change, many streamers have begun considering other platforms to house their livestreams.
YouTube takes 30% of revenue from fan’s payments to their favourite creators, leaving the majority to streamers and content creators. While still taking a percentage of profit, YouTube offers creators a variety of monetised features they can earn money from, rather than just subscriptions. A newly introduced feature called “Super Thanks” allows fans to ‘tip’ creators for specific videos they have created. While YouTube still takes a 30% cut, it is an additional revenue stream for creators.
Facebook Gaming recently announced a huge change that will incentivise streamers to switch to or continue growing on the platform. Facebook will keep its subscriptions, badges, events and independent news products free for creators until 2023. Facebook also announced that when it does start introducing a revenue share, it will be taking less than the 30% other platforms take.
Considering that streamers will be able to keep all their profits for the next year-and-a-half, it will be interesting to see how many streamers make the switch from Twitch to Facebook Gaming. The real impact remains to be seen, but given the recent conversations from Twitch streamers about their earnings, it is quite likely we will see some platform transitions.