Twitch Subscriptions: What They Are and How They Work

How to subscribe and unsubscribe, and all about sub tiers

Twitch subscriptions are a monthly payment made to Twitch Partners and Affiliates as a way for viewers to support their favorite channels.

Subscribers are given a variety of premium perks such as special emoticons (emotes) to use in a stream's chat room, while the streamer gains a recurring source of income that can help pay their streaming and living expenses. Subscriptions are one of the more popular ways to make money on Twitch.

How Is Subscribing Different Than Following?

Subscribing and following on Twitch are not the same thing.

Following a channel on Twitch will add it to your follow list and display it on the front page of the Twitch website and apps when it's live. It's similar to following accounts on Instagram or Twitter and is completely free.

Subscribing, on the other hand, is a way to support a Twitch channel financially by opting-in to regular monthly donations.

Twitch Subscription Benefits: Viewer

Person creating a Twitch subscription

Lifewire/Chelsea Damraksa

While most viewers subscribe to channels mainly to support their favorite streamer, there are also several tangible benefits to opting-in to the recurring monthly payment.

Many of these benefits vary from channel to channel, however, so it's always worth reading a Twitch streamer's channel page in full before subscribing to make sure you know exactly what you're getting.

Here are all of the potential benefits:

  • Emotes: Emotes are specially designed emoticons (or emoji) that are unique to individual Twitch channels and are only available for subscribers of that channel. Subscribers of one channel can use that channel's emotes in any other chat room on Twitch. In general, the more subscribers a channel has, the more emotes are made available for its subscribers to use. Emote creation is entirely the responsibility of the channel creator (the streamer), so the number of available emotes will vary from channel to channel.
  • Badges: Twitch subscriber badges are special icons that display alongside a subscriber's name within the respective channel's chat room. The default badge is that of a star, however, streamers have the option to customize it if they so choose. Streamers can also add custom badges that change depending on how many months a viewer has been subscribed for, and is done as a way to reward loyalty and encourage more viewers to subscribe.
  • Special Alerts: After beginning a Twitch subscription, a special button for sharing will appear in that channel's chat room. When pressed during a live stream, a special alert will appear to all viewers announcing the new or renewed subscription along with the subscriber's Twitch username and the number of months that they've been subscribed for. The subscriber is also able to send the streamer a customized message for them to read.
  • Exclusive Chatroom: Twitch Partners and Affiliates have the option to create a sub-only chat room for their streams that's only accessible to paying subscribers. This can be useful for popular channels that have thousands of followers commenting all at once in the chat, which can essentially render it useless. Not all channels have these special chat rooms since it's up to the streamer to create them.
  • Exclusive Competitions: Many Twitch streamers hold special competitions for their subscribers or give them more entries in a contest that's open to all of their viewers. Prizes can range from small objects such as mugs and t-shirts, but can also include larger prizes like video games or consoles.
  • Ad-Free Viewing: Lots of streamers choose to reward their subscribers with an ad-free viewing experience. This removes all pre, mid, and post-roll video ads from their stream. Some Twitch streamers choose to keep ads enabled, though, so this isn't a guarantee.

Twitch Subscription Benefits: Streamer

Subscriptions are available to streamers on Twitch who are either a Twitch Affiliate or Partner.

Statuses are rewarded to users who actively broadcast several times a week. Plus, Twitch streamers have a consistent and loyal viewership.

Subscriptions are incredibly important for streamers since they provide them with a source of recurring income that snowballs month-over-month as more viewers opt-in to subscribe. There are plenty of other ways to support your favorite Twitch streamer.

Are Twitch Affiliate and Partner Subscriptions Different?

While Twitch Partners tend to have more features in general than Affiliates, the subscription feature is identical between the two account types and works in the same way.

The only difference between a Twitch Affiliate and a Partner in regards to subscriptions is emotes: Twitch Partners can create more.

How Much Does a Twitch Subscription Cost?

There are three tiers for Twitch subscriptions, all of which are designed around a monthly payment schedule.

When the feature launched, the default subscription amount was $4.99, but in mid-2017 Twitch added two additional tiers for $9.99 and $24.99.

Subscriptions can be paid monthly or in bulk payments at three or six-month intervals.

How Much of the Subscription Fee Does the Streamer Get?

Officially, Twitch Partners and Affiliates receive 50 percent of the total subscription fee, so for the $4.99 tier, the streamer would get around $2.50.

Twitch has been known to increase this amount for popular streamers to encourage them to remain on the Twitch platform, with some being upgraded to anywhere from 60–100 percent of the monthly fee.

How to Subscribe to a Twitch Channel

To subscribe to a Twitch channel, you need to visit it in a web browser on a computer.

You can't subscribe to a Twitch channel via any of the official mobile or video game console apps, and only channels which are run by Twitch Partners and Affiliates will display a subscribe option to viewers.

  1. On the channel page, select Subscribe, located below the video player on the right side.

    Subscribe button on Akamarured's Twitch channel page

    A small box will appear with options to subscribe via Twitch Prime (more on that below) or with a payment.

  2. Select Subscribe | $4.99 to choose the default monthly subscription fee of $4.99 USD. Or, pick All Paid Tiers to choose the $9.99 or $24.99 payment option and see a list of perks for each subscription tier.

    Twitch Subscribe for $4.99 button

    If you're not already signed in to Twitch, you'll be asked to do so now. If you sign in at this point, you might have to repeat the steps above while logged on.

  3. Fill out your payment preference on the pop-up screen. You can pay by credit card or PayPal, or choose More Methods for some other options like gift cards, cash, and cryptocurrencies.

    Twitch subscription payment information page for Akamarured

    Selecting the More Methods option lets you pick from other subscription types like $29.97 for three months and $59.94 for six months.

  4. The Twitch subscription will begin as soon as the chosen payment method is processed.

How to Subscribe With Twitch Prime For Free

Twitch Prime is a premium membership that provides members with an ad-free viewing experience across all Twitch channels, exclusive emotes and badges, and free digital content for video games.

A Twitch Prime membership also gives members a free monthly subscription to the Twitch Partner or Affiliate of their choice, valued at $4.99. This subscription is completely identical to a paid $4.99 subscription, however, it must be manually renewed each month by the subscriber.

To redeem this free Twitch Prime subscription, simply follow the steps for the paid subscription mentioned above but instead of choosing a money option, pick Start Your Free Trial.

Start your Free Trial button for Twitch Prime

You can also unlock a Twitch Prime subscription through Amazon Prime, too. If you're an Amazon subscriber, Twitch Prime is one of your Prime benefits.

How to Unsubscribe From a Twitch Channel

Twitch subscriptions can be canceled at any time by choosing not to renew them on the Subscriptions page of your account. The canceled subscription will remain active for the remainder of the paid period but will cease when the next payment is needed.

You're unable to manage subscriptions from the Twitch app for video game consoles or the app for mobile devices.

  1. Log in to Twitch, and then from any page on the website, select the drop-down menu in the top right corner.

  2. Choose Subscriptions.

    Screenshot of Subscriptions menu on Twitch channel page for ArtificialNext

    You'll be taken to a page that will list all of the Twitch channels you're subscribed to.

  3. Choose Payment Info to the right of the channel you want to unsubscribe from.

    If you're not subscribed to any channels on Twitch, you'll simply be greeted with a white screen and a message telling you as such.

  4. Select Don't Renew in the pop-up window.

    Also take note of the next date you'll be charged for the subscription so that you'll know when you'll be charged if you leave the auto-renew option enabled.

  5. Choose Don't Renew to initiate the Twitch channel cancellation.

The renewal cancellation confirmation page also provides you with an opportunity to offer feedback and explain why you're canceling your Twitch subscription, but filling out the feedback form is optional.

Subscriptions can be restarted at any time after cancellation has taken place (i.e., after the final renewal date) but must be completed within 30 days to maintain your subscription streak with the channel. If a subscription is renewed after 30 days have taken place, it will display as a completely new subscription with no history.

How to Change a Twitch Subscription Amount

A Twitch subscription's price can be changed to or from any of the $4.99, $9.99, and $24.99 rates at any time.

The change will take effect immediately as a new charge and there are no refunds given for any days left on the original subscription period. You're encouraged to wait until the last few days of a billing cycle to change your subscription rates.

Here's how to change the subscription amount, but note that like the other Twitch subscription management options, this can only be done from the Twitch website through a web browser.

  1. Go to the page of the subscribed Twitch channel you wish to change.

  2. Select Subscribed to the left of the chat, and then take note of the available rates. Your current one has a green star next to it.

    You can choose each option to see their respective perks (exclusive emotes, etc).

  3. Pick Subscribe Now next to the subscription you want to have.

Your previous subscription will cancel and your new one will begin immediately, and your subscriber streak will carry over with the new rate even though you're paying a different amount.

For example, if you had subscribed at the $4.99 rate for three months and then switched to the $9.99 rate, the following month will show you having been subscribed for four months.

When Is a Twitch Subscription Renewed?

A monthly Twitch subscription is renewed every month on the same day that the first payment was made. If the initial payment was made on January 10, the next would happen on February 10, then March 10, and so on.

A Twitch subscription being paid on a three-month cycle would begin on January 10 and be renewed on April 10.

Should You Subscribe to a Twitch Channel?

Do you have a favorite Twitch streamer that you want to support and have some extra cash lying around? Subscribing to their channel (if they're a Partner or Affiliate) could be a great way to help them. However, please know that it's not compulsory.

Subscribing to a channel on Twitch isn't required to watch Twitch streams or to become a part of the Twitch community. It's a purely optional feature that many simply choose to partake in.

While there may be some added perks for opting-in to the monthly donations, the main reason to do so is to support a streamer that you wish to see succeed. Everything else attached to it should be considered a bonus.

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