The Pros and Cons of Becoming a Twitch Affiliate


For many Twitch streamers, attaining Affiliate status is a major milestone. It allows streamers to generate revenue from Twitch’s built-in tools while also acting as status symbol. You don’t have to browse very far in the world of gaming social media to find streamers that prominently display the title in their profiles. Heck, reaching that level was so important to me at one point that I went down a depressive spiral during my quest.

When the invite to join Twitch Affiliate finally came in, I pounced on it. But is that the right move for everyone? Probably not. Though I’m no longer weighed down by the stress of not having Twitch Affiliate, having the status hasn’t magically transformed me into a better or more important creator. It’s also limited my options in a few key ways. Here are some things you should know before you accept the deal.

Pros

Opportunity to generate revenue through Twitch’s built-in tools

Nothing is stopping streamers from generating revenue through other means. With a service like Streamlabs, you can easily set up your own page that will allows viewers to send tips. However, I get the sense that most transactions between streamers and viewers occur through Twitch’s features, such as paid subscriptions, Bits, and ad revenue.

Not only are these features baked into the application, but viewers are most familiar with how they work and are more likely to use them. Twitch Prime is a blessing for all involved, as it allows viewers to purchase a sub for free and the streamer still gets paid. Though I’m a ways away from swimming in Twitch money Scrooge McDuck style, the generous support I’ve received from viewers like you has made an impact. You helped me pay for my new camera, which I wouldn’t have been able to do without your generosity.

Ability to offer viewers benefits such as custom emotes and ad-free viewing 

Emotes are a fun incentive that allow viewers of a specific streamer to share their fandom across the entirety of Twitch. As a viewer, I love using emotes from other channels I support. As a streamer, I never get tired of seeing others use the emotes I provide. Only Twitch Affiliates or Partners can offer emotes or implement the Channel Points system. Skipping ads is a nice perk as well, though I highly recommend watching them for the sake of supporting your favourite streamers through the ad revenue they’ll make from each ad view. 😉

Ability to stream elsewhere*

Twitch Affiliate does not bar streamers from streaming on other platforms, per se. You can still stream on YouTube or Mixer if you so choose. However, there’s a big gotcha that we’ll discuss in the cons section.

(UPDATE 03/02/20) Access to transcoding

This was a big miss on my part when I first posted this. Fixing that now!

Transcoding allows viewers to set the resolution for the stream they’re watching. Every Partner stream gets access to transcoding, while some Affiliates will gain access to whatever transcoding slots are left.

Streaming in the highest possible resolution is great in the most broadest of terms. However, the inability to transcode might cut off more of your audience than you think. For those who live in countries with limited broadband access or with strict data caps, your 1080p 60fps stream may not be feasible. Reaching Affiliate won’t guarantee that you get access to this feature all the time, but it’s an upgrade over not taking the deal and never having access to transcoding for your audience.

Cons

Twitch takes a cut on all purchases of subscriptions and Bits

When you subscribe to a streamer for $5 US, the streamer gets $2.50 and Twitch gets $2.50. $2.50 helps and is greatly appreciated, but you can tip a streamer $5 through other means and have the streamer receive a much larger percentage of that donation. When you purchase bits, there’s an upfront cost that you cover that goes to Twitch. Both ways might be easier and more trustworthy, but Twitch still functions in the middle, taking their cut one way or another. Not mad at Twitch wanting to make money in this manner, but it’s something you should know.

The most efficient way for a viewer to support a streamer is through a tip/donation. Besides whatever nominal fee that PayPal charges, the streamer will get everything else. You don’t need to be a Twitch Affiliate to implement a tip/donation link.

You’ll have to do extra work to file this revenue as part of your taxes

Twitch money isn’t free money. Just like any revenue stream, you’re going to have to file it in your taxes. The process will vary by country, but it is extra work you’ll have to account for come tax season.

Any live streaming content you create on Twitch is exclusive to Twitch for 24 hours after the broadcast ends

During your most recent stream, you landed the sickest headshot and you can’t wait to share that clip on Instagram ASAP. Sorry, you can’t, as that’s a violation of the Twitch Affiliate contract.

While you are free to make content elsewhere, any content that appears on Twitch can only appear on Twitch in the first 24 hours of its existence. You can directly share the Twitch link to that headshot on Twitter, but a unique upload of the clip to Instagram, Facebook, or any other platform will get you into hot water.

Furthermore, this also means you can’t use multi-streaming services such as restream.io without violating the terms of your contract. If streaming to multiple platforms at once is important to you, taking that Affiliate deal with Twitch will force you to stop.


Should you take the deal?

It depends. Twitch Affiliate does give you ways of improving your stream while also making revenue through their services. However, access to those benefits comes at a cost. Are you willing to sacrifice your freedom, timeliness, and reach for Twitch subs and Bits? Besides that, there are more factors to consider.

If chasing for Twitch Affiliate is something of interest to you, I strongly recommend reviewing the Affiliate Agreement first. Make sure you understand what you’re getting into before locking yourself into a commitment that might not be the best fit for you.


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2 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of Becoming a Twitch Affiliate

  1. Dan February 28, 2020 / 1:15 PM

    Thanks for writing this up Jett, this is very useful information!

    • Jett February 28, 2020 / 4:11 PM

      No problem! Hope this helps you in your streaming adventures!

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