Twitch’s New Ad Program Could Help and Hurt Streamers

Reliable monthly income at the risk of driving away viewers

Key Takeaways

  • Twitch’s Ads Incentive Program would allow channels to earn a base monthly paycheck by hosting a set amount of ad time every hour.
  • The added revenue could benefit smaller channels and incentivize them to stream more regularly for their audiences.
  • An increase in the amount of ad time could irritate some viewers and drive them away.
Excited and smiling woman in cute headset with a mic playing an online video game and live streaming

Complexio / Getty Images

Twitch is testing out a new program that it hopes will provide streamers with a more reliable monthly income, but it may not go over well with audiences.

The Ads Incentive Program would give streamers (Affiliates and Partners) the option of running a set number of ads per hour, with the promise of a guaranteed payout. Two minutes per hour would provide $100 at the end of the month, three minutes nets $300, and four minutes would bring in $500. So long as the streamer runs the requisite number of ads and streams for at least 40 hours each month, that paycheck would be guaranteed. Twitch has also stated that additional income at the normal ad payout rate for anything past that 40 hours per month could also be earned.

"Twitch's expected payouts for this new Ads Incentive Program is significantly more than I currently make in subscriptions," said Jeremy Signor, games writer and Twitch streamer, in an email to Lifewire. "It would make a tangible difference, and it would provide enough incentive to stream more often."

It Looks Good on Paper

For smaller Twitch channels or channels just starting out, being able to rely on a monthly minimum in revenue would most likely be a worthwhile deal. And if regular ad income (about $3.50 per 1,000 viewers of an ad) gets added to that, all the better. Especially when, as Signor pointed out, the rates exceed a streamer’s current monthly income. For some, it could be the push (or pull) needed to get them to try streaming regularly.

Back view of young gamer playing video games on computer while sitting by the table at home

DeanDrobot / Getty Images

Meeting the 40 hours per month streaming requirement also likely wouldn't be much of an issue, according to Signor.

"40 hours a month as a requirement isn't that hard to meet," Signor said. "The barriers facing smaller and newer streams have nothing to do with the amount of streaming you do, and getting to the point where you get paid already requires a certain amount of time streamed."

So just to earn money in the first place, streamers already have to work for a set number of hours. It would be a drop in the bucket for larger channels that stream regularly, plus it would be a fairly easy target for anyone already trying to earn Affiliate status. This, in turn, could lead to less stress for streamers and, by extension, a happier, more engaged stream to watch.

But… It Could Backfire

However, a potential problem with the Ads Incentive Program is the ads themselves. Whether it's Hulu, YouTube, Twitch, or regular old TV, many audiences aren't fond of the interruption. Depending on the plan chosen, they could end up seeing anywhere from two to four minutes worth of ads per hour, and many streams usually last longer than that. If the average stream is between three to six hours, that could result in anywhere from six to 24 minutes worth of ads in one session. At those rates, driving off less patient viewers is a legitimate concern for streamers.

"That many ads for normal viewers is disruptive," Signor explained. "Having the amount of ads we already have is disruptive enough, so adding more is a big ask. A guaranteed $100/mo would definitely help smaller streamers, but more ads risks shrinking already small audiences."

Nervous woman playing online computer games at their desk

DeanDrobot / Getty Images

This could be especially damaging for smaller channels that are already struggling, which incidentally are also the types of channels that could benefit most from the program. It presents streamers—especially less well-known ones—with a difficult choice if Twitch invites them to participate in the program. Do they accept a guaranteed $100-$500 per month minimum paycheck and risk angering the audience that's an important symbiotic part of their channel? Or do they turn it down to spare their audience the headaches but resign themselves to the stress of financial uncertainty?

And what happens if Twitch decides to unceremoniously drop the program entirely at some point? Similar things have happened before, after all. Or, Twitch could decide to simply not continue the Ads Incentive Program beyond the testing stage. It's tough to be sure at the moment.

"Twitch isn't very transparent about the rollout of this program, as it's only available to 'select' streamers without being specific about what that means—I don't have access to the program, for instance," Signor stated. "But this is nothing new for Twitch, as it will introduce features such as Chant and Moments to a percentage of streamers to test them out and remove them just as mysteriously."

Was this page helpful?