The Creator Power Scale: A Formula to Determine if Platforms are Ripping You Off

An examination of the Twitch Hack data

The Scales of Justice

Twitch is a live streaming platform focused on video games,  owned by our bald, shiny-headed retail overlord Jeff Bezos, where streamers will talk with viewers and play video games. These guys, and they are almost universally guys, live out the wildest dream of 13-year-old Evan and play video games for a living. 

Streamers can earn money on Twitch by advertisements, donations, or subscription memberships. Until recently, nobody knew how much top earners were bringing in, or how severe the drop-off is if you’re not in the top tier.

That all changed a couple weeks ago. Twitch was hacked, and one of the leaked data sets revealed the who was in the top 10,000 streamers, and how much money each of them made. The results were shocking at first glance. 

  • 50% of revenue was made by the top 1% of streamers
  • 75% of accounts that are making money made less than 120 dollars this year
  • 896,261 accounts made no money at all
  • Only 0.06% received over the U.S. median household income of $67,521. 
  • A quarter of all revenue was earned by the top 1,000 accounts.

*oh lordy, they are playing Bernie Sanders’ music*

The numbers look even more shocking when you consider that this is just the top 10K. There are over 9M people who have streamed on Twitch. 

But it gets worse. Even for those few creators who generated significant revenue, Twitch took a decent chunk of it:

  • 50% of membership subscriptions 
  • 20-30% of ad revenue
  • 30% of donations by viewers
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