You've probably heard of live streamers who make hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Although it's true that it's possible to make a good living on Twitch, only a small handful of people have ever been able to grow their channel to a point where it can earn a decent wage.
In most cases, the difference between a struggling Twitch channel and one that can serve as a full-time job is partnership. Upon meeting a set of viewership parameters, a channel can be flagged by Twitch to be eligible to display ads, support paid subscriptions, and unlock an array of meaningful community features.
The problem is that since the program's introduction the parameters for eligibility have been strict, effectively locking out more than 99% of channels. Although Twitch officially defines the requirements as a channel having "an established and steadily growing audience and chat" and "a regular broadcast schedule of at least 3 times a week", which seems easily obtainable, it is only the channels with the largest audiences that are given consideration.
The system makes sense given the investment by Twitch, and its desire to only represent the highest quality channels. But for the average channel that puts in long work weeks and would like nothing more than to turn it into a full time job, it's a tough proposition.
Enter the newly announced Twitch Affiliate program. Coming soon to the platform, it will provide a much more accessible option for streamers who don't meet partnership requirements.
Under this program, many of the benefits of being partnered will be available, albeit in modified form. Take for example Cheering with Bits, which allows viewers to post channel-defined emoticons in chat. These will be available to affiliates, in addition to susbcriptions, advertisements, and chargeback protection. Affiliates will even have access to payout fees.
The feature set among what will become three tiers of channel status are defined as follows:
The features available to affiliates will be considerably close to partners. However, it will be much easier to become an affiliate, with the parameters only including a 3 concurrent visitors average, 50 followers, and 7 unique broadcasts in the last 30 days.
This will effectively open up powerful community features and monetization to thousands of channels on the platform. Existing channels will have a more manageable milestone to aim for, and gamers who may have considered streaming but realized previously that it might have too high of an opportunity cost will have reason to reconsider.
If nothing else, there are certain to be more active channels than ever before once streamers realize that Twitch can serve as a reasonable secondary job without requiring full-time commitment.
You can read more about Twitch Affiliate here.