Have you ever wondered how much money Twitch streamers make, or wondered how they make any money at all? I mean, can anyone just sit in front of a camera, play video games all day, and make a living? How does anyone get started in a job like that, and what are they doing to ensure that they bring in an income they can actually live off of? In the West it's still a bit taboo to talk about your income, but one prominent Twitch streamer decided to offer viewers an inside look at how he makes money streaming.
DisguisedToast has been featured multiple times as one of Twitch's most-viewed streamers, and is more than qualified to educate us about how a professional streamer makes his or her money. The video begins by breaking down income into four basic categories, two of which we're sure you could have guessed. The four main sources of income for any streamer are: Donations, subscriptions, ads, and sponsorships.
Donations seem like the most lucrative source of income (if not the most instantly gratifying), and it works exactly like you think it would. Twitch viewers have the option to whip out their credit card (or PayPal info), and make a direct donation to the streamer at any time. Twitch may take a very small cut of that donation, but the majority of the money goes right into the streamer's pocket. This is why you see streamers offering mod privileges, exclusive emotes, and personal shout-outs to people willing to donate to their channel.
DisguisedToast revealed that he makes roughly $2,500 a month from donations, which he says is on the smaller side for a streamer with a viewership his size. That's pretty hard to believe, but then again, he doesn't offer those incentives for viewers to donate. When you consider that some streamers give out SnapChat account access and personal streams in exchange for donations, it's easy to imagine how this number could skyrocket.
This is the thing that most viewers hate for some reason, even though an ad may only take up 30 seconds of their time on the longer end. A short ad is served when you open up a stream, and that makes the streamer a small bit of money, but partnered streamers have the privilege of triggering ads at any point during their stream which, if they have a large concurrent viewership, can make them much more money -- especially if they do it multiple times per stream.
DisguisedToast revealed that he makes roughly $4,000 a month from ad revenue, and that's without triggering any extra ads during his streams. That's pretty impressive, and now you know why all of your favorite websites as you to turn off your ad-blocker. It really does provide the foundational, funding lifeblood of a content provider.
According to DisguisedToast, racking up subscriptions is the best way to really rack up some serious cash. On Twitch, you can pay $5 to subscribe to a streamer's channel, or if you have Twitch Prime, you can trigger a $5 sub every month for free.
Twitch does keep 50% of that subscription fee, which is pretty extreme, but partnered streamers get to keep 70% of that subscription bonus. We focus on Ninja for a moment, who has about 121,000 publicly disclosed subscribers. As a top-tier streamer he gets to keep $3.50 of every subscription, which means that from subscriptions alone, before any other kind of revenue is taken into account, he's making over $420,000 every month on Twitch.
As for DisguisedToast, he's making roughly $14,000 a month from his subscribers.
Sponsorships come in all shapes and sizes, but as a basic example, we're imagining a company like EA paying top streamers to stream Battlefield V. When a popular streamer hosts a sponsored stream, EA will pay out anywhere from one cent to one dollar, per viewer, per hour.
For someone like DisguisedToast, who averages about 10,000 viewers in a stream, a sponsored stream like this would pay out somewhere in the neighborhood of $5,000 per hour.
Sponsored appearances are also mentioned, and you guys can probably remember at least a few tournaments or events where someone like Ninja was said to make an appearance or compete. They are very likely getting paid a flat $5,000-10,000 to do this.
So how much does a streamer like DisguisedToast make when it's all said and done? At the 9:40 mark, he begins to break it all down.
DisguisedToast makes roughly $20,000 a month from ads, subscribers, and donations, and then he says that any money above and beyond that, from sponsored streams for example, is considered a bonus. For an established streamer who considers himself in the "mid-range" when it comes to high viewership, this is a pretty mind-blowing income.
But it's also a lot of work. Hopefully you can tell from viewing the video that earning money playing video games isn't just about playing video games. It's about running a business, and maintaining a community of fans for years. The hours are long and irregular, and consistency is king. If you're capable, and patient, there's a fat 6-or-7-figure salary in it for you.