Twitch has announced that they’re launching a Twitch Affiliate Program, a sort of bridge between Partnered and non-Partnered broadcasters. As it stands, all of the monetization tools available through Twitch are only accessible by Partners. Even the small amount of money you might be making via pre-roll ads completely bypasses you as a non-Partner and for newer broadcasters, this is one step that could make an eventual transition into streaming full-time very difficult. While they can’t yet offer everything to Affiliates, Twitch has mentioned that Cheering with Bits will certainly be the first thing available to Affiliates with the rest of the monetization tools coming eventually as well. Non-Partnered broadcasters can already generate revenue using outside sources like getting tipped directly or using GameWisp and Patreon but a more reliable and centralized option via Twitch has it’s benefits.
Unlike the Twitch Partner program, there is no application to be a Twitch Affiliate. It will be invite only to those that meet the qualifications. To qualify, a broadcaster would need to stream for at least 500 minutes across 7 or more individual streams in the last 30 days with an average of 3 concurrent viewers of more. You will also need at least 50 followers on your channel. To be honest, these requirements seem like almost nothing but that isn’t a bad thing at all. As broadcasters start to take streaming more and more seriously, more support for them on Twitch’s part will help them flourish as they approach partnership status. This obviously starts to blur the line between Partners and non-Partners but Twitch does reserve some features for Partners exclusively like guaranteed transcoding options, longer VOD storage, stream delay options, and a nifty chat badge.
While this announcement kind of came out of nowhere for me, I was hoping that something like this would happen on Twitch soon. As I mentioned a couple times already, transitioning from a non-Partner to a Partner always seemed like such an awkward process: you have to stream for many hours on a regular basis with no consistent financial returns then you get a sub button and that (hopefully) changes in the span of a day. Even if you look passed the sub button, not having access to any monetization tools seemed a bit crazy, especially now with game sales on Twitch that you can’t opt out of. As Twitch grows in size, however, this is kind of an expected change. Twitch now boasts over 17,000 Partners and many more non-Partners that are pushing for Partnership or have active communities despite their non-Partner status.
YouTube comes to mind with this change. Once you have 10,000 channel views, you can become a YouTube Partner and get access to monetization tools. 10,000 channel views might seem like a lot on paper but it is across every video you have and there aren’t any firm restrictions for your subscriber count or even average view count per video and there are still more tiers above that with a variety of features as well. Like with YouTube, the hope here is that even if some features are reserved for Twitch Partners, the monetization tools will help enable smaller broadcasters turn their channels into something more substantial without hinging on being partnered or not.
For more info on the Twitch Affiliate Program, check out the Twitch Blog.