Twitch Economics 101: How Much Do Streamers Make?

If you’re a gamer of any sort, then chances are, you’ve heard of the streamer Ninja. He’s currently the top Twitcher streamer and earns $500,000 a month.

That’s right—he makes half a million dollars every 4 weeks just by playing games and broadcasting it while he does so.

You’re probably now thinking: is it really this easy? Really, how much do streamers make? Can I become a streamer?

Keep reading! We’ll answer all these questions and more.

How Much Do Streamers Make?

Hold on here; you can’t just jump onto Twitch and become a paid streamer straight away.

Here’s the process.

Become a Twitch Affiliate First

First, you have to start as a Twitch Affiliate. This is kind of like a screening process, since if you do well, they’ll reach out to you and invite you to become a Twitch Partner.

There are a few requirements to become a Twitch Affiliate. They are:

  • Stream for 500 minutes in the last month
  • Stream for 7 different days in the last month
  • Have at least 50 followers
  • Have an average of at least 3 viewers when you stream

While you won’t earn money as a Twitch Affiliate, you will when you become a Partner.

Reach the Requirements for Being a Twitch Partner

Here are the requirements Twitch looks for when sending out Partner invitations:

  • Stream for 25 hours in the last month
  • Stream for 12 different days in the last month
  • Have an average of at least 75 viewers in the last month

Once you’ve hit those requirements, feel free to apply to Twitch to become a Partner. You should hear back from them within 7 business days.

To figure out how much Twitch Partner streamers make, you have to first understand where the revenue comes from. Read on to see.

Where Does the Money Come From?

Seeing as Twitch is an online broadcasting platform, there’s a myriad of ways you can earn money while using it. However, the 4 main ways are through advertisements, donations, sponsorships, and subscriptions. We’ll discuss each one below.


Twitch streamers can earn money through ads on their streams; they’re paid by cost per mille (CPM), which is the going price for every thousand views on their channel.

It’s standard to serve viewers with an ad when they start up the stream; that’s automatic. The streamer can also choose to serve a 30-second ad whenever they wish. This is usually handy for when they need a bathroom break or want to make a quick call.

The rates will vary due to the advertiser, time of the year (e.g. right before a major game release, they’ll pay more), and how big the streamer is. Unfortunately, we can’t give you hard numbers here since Twitch streamers aren’t legally allowed to disclose these figures.


If you’re doing a great job, your viewers can show their appreciation by leaving you donations or tips on Twitch through an action called “cheering.” Their currency is called “bits” and each one is about equal to one cent.

Twitch makes their money off of bit purchases, so you’ll be pleased to know your donations won’t be “taxed.”

You can also push other channels for donations, such as Patreon or PayPal. Do note that these channels usually charge a fee for their services, so that’ll eat into your revenue.


Twitch streamers can earn money by running sponsored streams. For example, a gaming company can pay you to play their game on your channel. Your viewers will know when you’re doing a sponsorship because you’re legally required to have “#ad” in your stream title.

You have the chance to earn some serious cash with sponsorships. Depending on the brand, you can get anywhere between $0.01 to $1.00 per viewer, per hour!

You may also be sponsored by gaming equipment companies. They’ll give you free stuff, and you’ll go on stream and play games with them.


Once you get big enough, you can earn some serious cash through subscriptions.

You know how on YouTube, the people you watch are always saying something like, “if you like what you see, make sure you hit the ‘subscribe’ button”?

Twitch streamers will say this too. This is because with each subscription, you’ll earn some money. While there’s a free “subscribe” button, viewers can also purchase 3 tiers of subscriptions.

With those subscriptions, they get certain benefits, like ad-free viewing.

How does the streamer benefit?

Well, they get 50% of the subscription fees. And if you’re one of the top streamers, you get to keep 70%!

Needless to say, the more paid subscribers you have, the more money will roll in.

Are You Thinking About Becoming a Streamer?

As you can see, there are multiple variables when it comes to the question of, “how much do streamers make?” It all depends on how you go about your revenue and if you’re good at it.

For instance, if you get noticed as a great player, you can be invited to professional teams and generate a great source of income through tournament winnings. Or if you’re very charismatic, many brands will want you to advertise their products, so you can make the bulk of your money there.

If you’re thinking about becoming a streamer, you don’t just become successful overnight. Plus, you have to pretty much be a jack of all trades.

Not only do you have to have an interesting personality, but you also have to have video editing skills. In addition, you need to know how to market yourself.

So becoming a streamer isn’t as easy as you’d imagine it to be. But with some hard work, smart marketing, and dedication, you may find yourself the next Ninja! (Don’t be disheartened if you aren’t though!)

If you’re determined to become the next hit streamer, you’ll want to make your stream more professional by buying yourself a nice webcam and upgrading your lighting.