Twitch is making a significant change that could impact many of its most popular and successful streamers. Twitch has long been the top platform for livestreaming, making it the home of many of the industry’s top content creators. Competition has grown in recent years, however, as YouTube, Facebook, and even mobile platforms like TikTok and Instagram have pulled away new talent. Twitch has had to make tough decisions to maintain its success, but its latest is going to prove controversial.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Twitch explained that through the years its offered some top streamers unique contracts. Most Twitch streamers, and fans of Twitch streamers, know that the platform offers a standard 50/50 revenue split for subscriptions. If a subscriber pays $5, $2.50 goes to the streamer and $2.50 goes to Twitch. Some popular streamers have been offered better revenue splits, though, going up to 70/30 in their favor.
Twitch appears to be drawing a line, going forward. While it will be fulfilling all existing contracts, going forward it will no longer offer a full 70/30 revenue split for subscriptions. Instead, it will potentially offer a 70/30 split on the first $100,000 revenue a streamer brings in through subscriptions, and a 50/50 split beyond that. Again, this is only for certain top Twitch streamers who previously had a full 70/30 split. This isn’t a standard for all streamers going forward. Twitch says “approximately 90% of streamers” are at the 50/50 split and will remain there.
While Twitch does provide some explanation for why it’s making these changes, like Twitch not being transparent about the deals and a lack of consistent qualification criteria, no firm reason is given for the decision. This will clearly directly impact the subscription income of many major Twitch streamers. That money will now go to Twitch.
On one hand, Twitch deciding that it deserves more of the money that has previously gone to content creators is obviously going to be seen negatively. Regardless of what Twitch says, there’s no reason to do this other than for Twitch’s profit. On the other hand, the only Twitch streamers impacted by these changes are the most successful streamers on the platform. It’s perhaps less impactful to have millionaire streamers telling their subscribers they aren’t making what they should.
A big question that won’t have a direct answer is how this will impact future Twitch streamer decisions regarding whether they want to stay with the platform. A major shift of popular Twitch streamers moving to YouTube has happened recently. Taking away a full 70/30 revenue split may lead to more major streamers making this decision. Twitch likely understands that, and will likely seek to persuade streamers to stay on Twitch in other ways.