How much money Twitch streamers actually make


Shawn Farner

Writer and Storywriter


Streaming is a big money business. If you build up a substantial following on a site like Twitch or YouTube, you can do more than just scrape by on your earnings — you can become an enterprise. It’s like Jay-Z said once: “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.” Today’s largest streamers are basically brands. You know Ninja. You know Dr. Disrespect. They are people, but they are also — in essence — Ninja, Inc. and Dr. Disrespect, Inc. They command metric crap-tons of cash.

How much money Twitch streamers actually make

That isn’t the life of every streamer, of course. For every Ninja, there are probably tens of thousands who stream every night to a handful of people, or potentially nobody at all. And somewhere in the middle — what you might call the “minor league” in baseball parlance — are those who make enough to cover their costs, but are still waiting to be called up to the majors.

It made me curious about how much money Twitch streamers actually rake in. Not just the big names, but all of them. Here’s what I found.

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The big time

It’s hard to get a read on just how much money Twitch streamers make at the highest levels, because they typically sign exclusivity deals that your everyday streamer doesn’t gain access to. We do know that Ninja told CNN that he earned $10 million on Twitch in 2018 alone. Reports also claim that he made “between $20 and $30 million” when he joined the now-defunct Mixer back in 2019. That’s a lot of dough, and it’s possible he could’ve added onto that total with sponsorships and such.

Now Ninja is back on Twitch again, where he also signed an exclusivity deal. According to TwitchTracker, he’s at 5,891 active subs, which would net him close to $15,000 a month. Again, though, it’s unclear whether those are even important. He has the deal with Twitch, so the subs might not even benefit him. Odds are, he’s at least getting eight-figure money out of that deal, if not more.

And all of that doesn’t even consider endorsements, sponsorship deals, appearances, and the other media opportunities that come in as a result of being more famous. Ninja has authored books. He’s been on The Masked Singer. He’s going to cameo in a Ryan Reynolds movie. Those are shots your average streamer simply isn’t going to get, and they just open more doors for Ninja to make even more money.


The middle tier

This is where things get a little dicey, because you have to rely on third-party stat trackers for active subscriber counts. I’m not quite as confident in these numbers, but sadly, they are what’s available.

So let’s zoom in on someone who isn’t quite Ninja level, but still streams for a living and is what Twitch calls a “Partner” — ProfessorBroman.

At the moment, TwitchTracker reports that ProfessorBroman has 774 active subscribers. These subs are worth $5 a month, but that’s before Twitch comes in and takes a 50% cut. For the streamer, a sub then equals $2.50. A total of 774 would earn ProfessorBroman about $1,935 a month. And that’s before taxes.

Fortunately, streamers have some other revenue channels available to them. ProfessorBroman is big enough to have some sponsorship deals in place, for example. The streamer also averages close to 700 viewers while he’s live, and those who aren’t subscribers will be shown ads. That’s another way to make some extra cash. And there are tips from viewers to consider, too.

Still, ProfessorBroman has some other ventures he’s a part of in order to round things out. He’s the CMO of an events company called RareDrop, as well as the CMO of Kings Coast Coffee Company. TLDR: he’s doing other things besides streaming to pay the bills.

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The hopefuls

For this category, I literally just searched Twitter for a streamer who revealed they were an Affiliate. These are typically people who likely want to make streaming a career, but they haven’t grown enough yet to take that next step.

Our focus is on a streamer by the name of baphometbabee. How do you say that? I have no idea.

The promise behind Twitch’s Affiliate program is this: you can continue to grow your channel and, unlike your hobbyist streamers, actually make money from things like subscriptions and the sale of Bits, Twitch’s on-site currency.

According to the stats available on TwitchTracker, baphometbabee has 156 followers with an average of about 5.5 viewers per stream. So even if we’re super generous and say that half of those followers are subscribers (though the number is typically much lower), that would still only make the streamer about $390 a month.

It’s possible baphometbabee pulls some tip money in during each stream. Unfortunately, there’s not a surefire way to track that metric for any streamer, regardless of how big or how small they are. Still, baphometbabee would have to earn a lot of tip money if they wanted to reach the point where streaming was feasible as a career. Either that, or they’d have to grow their channel even more so that they could gain more followers and subscribers and, eventually, reach Twitch’s Partner level.

It is not all sunshine and rainbows

As you can see, streaming is not the endless fountain of easy money it is sometimes portrayed to be. Sure, there are people at the top making dough by the boatloads, but there are a lot more streamers who aren’t making a whole lot at all. Even those with the much-coveted Partner status may not be making any more than they might at a typical 9-5 job. And the Affiliates who are trying to work their way up? They make even less, and have a much tougher road ahead of them.

With that, you have a little more insight into how much money Twitch streamers really and truly make. If you’re a streamer starting out and you’re hoping to achieve Ninja-like glory, now you know what lies ahead. And if you’re just a fan who tunes in to your favorite streamer from time to time — toss them a few bucks.

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