How Much Do Twitch Streamers and YouTubers ACTUALLY Make from Donations? by@tachat

How Much Do Twitch Streamers and YouTubers ACTUALLY Make from Donations?

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Tachat Igityan HackerNoon profile picture

Tachat Igityan

Founder and CFO of destream.net

Donations are aimed to support content creators on different platforms. But how much money actually goes to the streamer? What amount of commissions and fees are taken by the intermediaries? Let’s do a breakdown of the donation system and see how it works.

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How much streamers earn on donations

Most full-time streamers get an average of $3000-$6500 per month; the amount varies depending on their popularity and sponsorships. Gamers received up to $1,000,000 donations on Twitch, and some content creators earned about $3.3 million through Twitch subscriptions, bits, and ads from late 2019 to October 2021.

The amount of income they generate will vary from streamer to streamer. Most of them receive bits and subscriptions from 5-15% of their total viewers. “Professional” streaming requires time and dedication, and just the top 0.01% of content creators get the big Twitch payouts. Small bloggers with 5-10 average viewers get $50-$200 per month, this amount is based on subscribers, bits, and advertisements, without the income from other sources like YouTube and sponsorships. Most users purchase subscriptions to avoid ads and get exclusive content from streamers. At the same time, donations allow bloggers to generate content on a professional level and to create a stronger community.

Donation breakdown: fees, commission, and taxes

Twitch does not take commissions from donations, except from their tipping system called “Twitch Bits” where they take around 30% from the purchased bits. However, payment systems, such as PayPal, include additional fees. PayPal is now charging 2.89% of the total amount, plus a $0.49 fixed fee.

The new fees can cost streamers, especially the ones who rely on smaller donations, a lot of money. This way from every $1 donation from a viewer the streamer would only get $0.48. If a streamer gets a $100 donation, after it goes through PayPal, he will end up with $96.62. The number is not looking bad however, not many content creators receive this amount and rely on smaller donations.

Affiliate and Partnered creators can monetize their accounts with subscriptions. The price range is from $4.99 to $24.99. The creator gets 50% from each subscription, however, some high-end Twitch Partners can keep up to 70%. Users who have the subscription can watch ad-free videos, use channel emotes, and get access to subscriber-only content. Top streamers have custom deals and the split for Twitch Partners depends on the tier of the subscription:

  • Tier 1: 50/50

  • Tier 2: 60/40

  • Tier 3: 70/30

Bits can be classified as “tipping” or mini-donation. Every 100 bits equals $1. A streamer gets $0.01 per bit or an equivalent in foreign currency based on the current transactional value. It is worth noting that if the transaction requires a currency conversion, Paypal is using a retail exchange rate and a conversion service charge of 4.5%. Donations made through third-party platforms on Twitch go to the streamer, for this reason, solutions like Destream are convenient due to the absence of hidden fees.

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On Youtube creators need to meet several requirements to allow their viewers to purchase subscriptions: they need to have a minimum of 1,000 subscribers and at least 4,000 hours of total watch time within the last year. Traditional YouTubers typically make between $0.10-$0.30 per ad view and sponsorships, at the same time streamers, can get payment via channel memberships, super chat, sponsorships, and selling merchandise.

For instance, super chat allows subscribers to have their chat displayed at the top of the feed for a fee that can vary between $1-$500. The platform takes 30% of the payment and the remaining 70% goes to the streamer. If streamers want to collect donations on their channels they need to set up an account through a third-party platform, since Youtube does not have an in-built donation system.

Content creators from any country need to pay income tax or business tax if they are registered as a company. The amount varies depending on the country. For instance, in the UK they are required to complete a self-assessment tax return and declare their income. If they earn more than £1,000 per tax year, content creators have to do a tax return. In the US streamers need to fill in a tax return if they make more than $600.

Full-time bloggers need to pay a self-employment tax, which is a set 15.3%, and income tax. Creators usually act as sole traders or self-employed. Alternatively, they establish a limited company. It is a separate entity from its owner and the company is responsible for the business’s liabilities and debts.

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How donations improve the overall quality of the content

Donations allow content creators to improve the quality of their content and share with the audience more professional videos. The future of blogging and streaming is being shaped around the community, therefore it’s so important to find new ways to engage with the audience and build a strong network. At the same time if platform users like the online content, they are willing to make donations and encourage more people to become full-time creators.

To get the most out of the donations, bloggers and streamers should carefully read the policies. It is worth bearing in mind that content creators can save up to 20% of their income if they calculate all the commissions charged by payment platforms and banks.

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