During one of Twitch’s best months in 2015, 2.1 million folks broadcasted to the world. Twitch is the undisputed king of streaming. Not even YouTube can compete with the huge, loyal audience Twitch and its streamers have cultivated since Twitch launched in 2011.
The Amazon-owned streaming giant is always looking for new ways to support streamers (and themselves). Donations play a huge role for the more than 13,000 (as of 2015) partnered channels on Twitch. But there can be issues. Some viewers donate to streamers and then initiate chargebacks soon after. It can be a huge headache for streamers.
But one high-profile case went in streamers favor earlier this month. One viewer was donating big money and amassed $50,000 in donations through PayPal. When he went to charge back the $50,000, PayPal told him to get lost.
Donate by cheering
Yesterday, Twitch unveiled cheering. Here’s how the streaming service describes it:
Cheering is a new way to show support for streamers and celebrate the moments you love with the community, all right in chat. A Cheer is a chat message that uses Bits, which are evolving animated emotes that you can buy. Bits emotes can be used one by one, all at once, or anywhere in between. Using many at once shows more support and creates cooler emotes!
It’s basically donating, or tipping.
Pricing ranges from $1.40 for 100 bits to $64.40 for 5000 bits and $308 for 25,000 bits. You’ll have to link your Amazon account to Twitch to make the purchase.
What cheering means for Twitch and streamers
It’s a smart move by Twitch. There’s no denying that. Before, they were getting nothing from donations made via PayPal. Now? They share the revenue with streamers. We don’t know the exact split, but here’s what Twitch has to say in their FAQ.
Subject to certain conditions and restrictions, eligible partnered broadcasters get a revenue share from Bits used to Cheer for them.
If it’s similar to how Twitch treats their $4.99 subscriptions, then it’s probably a 50/50 split between Twitch and the streamer. I’m guessing the split favors the streamer a bit more in this case. Otherwise, the biggest streamers would have zero incentive to push Twitch cheering over the donations they are already receiving. Unless chargebacks are that prevalent.
And that’s how this helps streamers. If Bits are like Amazon’s other digital products, they are non-refundable. Streamers won’t be at the mercy of their own donations. They won’t have about donations getting chargebacks at random.
Right now, cheering is in beta. You can see it in action if you follow any of the top streamers. No word on when Twitch plans to expand the feature to all partnered channels.
We’ll see how Twitch’s streamers and viewers react to the new feature. It’s a clear move to grab a chunk of the donation money flowing towards popular streamers. If I were Amazon, I would do it too.
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