A new study estimates that revenue-earning American Twitch streamers grew to nearly 9,800 in 2017 (a 59 percent increase from 2016) and made an estimated $87.1 million (representing a 30 percent YOY increase).
Twitch is one of the fastest-growing platforms for American content creators. In terms of year over year growth in number of creators themselves, Twitch falls just behind Instagram and YouTube, and ranks second behind Instagram in YOY revenue growth for those creators. (Fun Fact: Instagram’s creator-based revenue growth grew nearly 50 percent from 2016 to 2017 to $460 million, according to the study.)
Recreate Coalition says these numbers are very conservative based on the methodology of the study and the fact that it’s limited to the U.S.
The growth of Twitch is predicated on a few obvious trends, as well as a very nuanced relationship between a streamer and his or her respective audience.
In the case of the former, “live” digital experiences continue to be a fascination for startups and consumers alike. While Twitch and YouTube have offered live broadcasts for a while, social media companies have followed along with their own live-streaming products. In fact, Betaworks dedicated a season of its accelerator program to “live” startups, calling the program LiveCamp.
With regards to the latter, things get more interesting. The relationship between a viewer and a streamer is similar to our relationships with other famous celebrities, artists and athletes, but puts the viewer far closer to the action.
Streamers don’t just pop up briefly in articles, TV interviews or on Twitter or Instagram. They spend hours and hours each day just sitting there, doing whatever it is they do on stream and chatting with their viewers. You can get to know their personality, talk to them and they talk back to you!
It’s a bizarre combination that has proven financially fruitful for these streamers, especially at a time when the gaming industry itself is growing by double-digit percentages YOY for the past two years.
A tier of elite, hyper-popular streamers such as Shroud, DrDisrespect, Dakotaz and of course Ninja are leading the way for others as they continue to gain followers. In fact, Ninja just partnered with Wicked Cool Toys to introduce to the market a line of actual toys. Ninja himself made nearly $10 million in 2018.
But as the gaming world explores new genres and esports grow, there seems to be plenty of room for streamers to make a name (and a pretty penny) for themselves.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this post included a few too many zeroes, stating that U.S. Twitch streamers made $87 billion instead of $87 million. It has been corrected for accuracy with my apologies.