Twitch says its new ad revenue program will make payouts more reliable

Streamers will earn a guaranteed amount of ad revenue per month.

Elijah Nouvelage / reuters

Twitch has launched an incentive program that will guarantee select streamers a certain amount of ad revenue per month. Many creators have spoken out about the difficulties of earning a consistent living from the livestreaming platform for all but the top-tier of streamers. Unless you have a consistent base of followers, the income you earn from Twitch can vary widely from month to month.

“Having a reliable floor of ad revenue should enable you to better plan for the future, whatever that may look like. We hope it’s an important step towards empowering creators,” wrote Twitch on its site.

The new payment model, which Twitch is calling the Ad Incentives Program or AIP, offers a select group of partners and affiliates a flat payout every month. In exchange, creators agree to stream for a minimum amount of hours per month while running ads. Twitch already has tapped a select group of streamers to participate in AIP for the time being. Selected streamers will see a message on top of their Ads Manager dashboard inviting them to join the program.

Twitch streamers typically earn money from a variety of different sources, including ads, subscriptions, Bits (virtual goods that viewers buy to cheer you on) and donations from followers. Not every streamer can earn money on Twitch. The platform requires a certain number of followers and broadcast hours before inviting streamers to its Affiliate program, which offers the ability for creators to monetize their streamers. Affiliates who attain enough followers and views can then take part in the more lucrative Partner program. But maintaining a consistent fan following is incredibly hard, and many creators burn out due to the many hours required. Twitch typically collects 50/50 of the revenue that streamers earn from subscriptions, a significantly worse deal than YouTube, Facebook and other platforms.

Streamers will get the option to pick from different payment models, and the amount Twitch is offering each streamer will vary. In the examples Twitch laid out on its site, a user who agrees to stream for 40 hours per month can select the option of either a $100 payout to run 2 minutes of ads per hour, a $300 payout to run 3 minutes of ads per hour, or a $500 payout to run 4 minutes of ads per hour. Streamers will earn this guaranteed amount of money regardless of how many people watch. After they stream the minimum amount of hours required, they’ll continue to earn revenue at their normal rate.

While an earnings floor may provide some stability for a select group of Twitch streamers, a number of streamers on Twitter have already pointed out that smaller streamers (the most likely to need a source of guaranteed income) won’t benefit in the least. The streamers who qualify for Twitch’s new AIP program already have a medium to large fanbase who already watch their streams. But for that select group, AIP may eliminate some of the guesswork when it comes to deciding which ad strategy will work best.