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Twitch Loses Top Streamer xQc as Kick Makes $100 Million Splash
Kick signs xQc for $100 million, Twitch announces a new 'Partner Plus' program, and a look at the potential of 'Live Shopping' as an affiliate income opportunity for streamers.
June 21, 2023
Kick Shakes Up Streaming Industry with $100 Million Contract for xQc
Kick, a new streaming service, has made headlines by signing Twitch’s top streamer, xQc, to a $100 million, two-year, non-exclusive contract. This move is unprecedented in the streaming industry, surpassing previous high-profile deals such as Ninja’s move to Microsoft’s Mixer for an estimated $20-30 million.
Comparisons have been drawn to the sports world, with xQc’s contract exceeding the two-year, $97.1 million deal signed by basketball star LeBron James with the Los Angeles Lakers. This staggering amount raises questions about the financial capabilities of Kick and its sustainability in the long run.
Kick’s contract does not restrict him from streaming on Twitch or other platforms, but it’s likely a large portion of the $100 million contract will require a certain number of hours streamed on Kick.
Kick also attracted Amouranth, Twitch’s most-watched female streamer but the terms of Amouranth’s deal have not been disclosed yet.
These back-to-back signings have undoubtedly raised alarm bells at Twitch. To make matters worse, Twitch recently implemented a policy that prohibits streamers from cross-streaming between platforms, even if it’s not monetized. This may have been a preemptive move by Twitch in anticipation of xQc’s departure.
Kick’s aggressive approach doesn’t stop at signing high-profile streamers. The platform is also offering a revenue split of 95/5 for all creators, far surpassing Twitch’s 50/50 split for most streamers and the best-case new 70/30 split (more on that below). This enticing revenue share has led many long-time streamers to at least consider trying out Kick.
While skepticism surrounding Kick’s long-term prospects is warranted, given that it is helmed by Ed Craven, the co-founder of crypto gambling site Stake, there are theories that these high-value contracts are a means of driving viewers towards gambling.
As the streaming landscape continues to evolve, it remains to be seen if Kick can carve out a profitable niche in the market.
Twitch Introduces 'Partner Plus' Program for Increased Earnings
Twitch is introducing a new program called “Partner Plus” that aims to give streamers a higher share of their subscription revenues. Under this program, streamers will receive 70% of their subscription revenues, up to the first $100,000 earned annually, while Twitch will take the remaining 30%. This is a significant increase compared to the standard 50/50 split that most partnered streamers currently receive.
To qualify for the program, streamers must maintain a subscriber count of at least 350 recurring paid subscriptions (not including Prime or Gifted Subs) for three consecutive months. Once this requirement is met, streamers will be automatically enrolled in the program for the next 12 months, even if their subscription count falls below the threshold during that period.
It is important to note that only a small percentage of Twitch partners will be eligible for the Partner Plus program. Out of the 42,000 partnered streamers on Twitch, some estimates show that only 1,066 meet the qualification criteria. This means that the program would be available to just 2.5% of Twitch partners.
In the past, Twitch had negotiated 70/30 deals with some of its top streamers. However, these deals were announced to eventually be subject to a $100,000 cut-off. The new Partner Plus program does not change these premium subscription terms, but it does offer an opportunity for more streamers to access the higher revenue split.
While the Partner Plus program is a step towards a more favorable revenue split for streamers, it falls short compared to the offerings of some competitors. Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has announced that it will not take any subscription cut until the end of 2023. YouTube Gaming currently offers a 70/30 split on fan funding, and Kick, a newer competitor, promotes a 95/5 split on subscription revenue.
The launch of the Partner Plus program comes as Twitch faces competition from alternative streaming sites that offer more favorable revenue splits. However, the limited eligibility and the $100,000 revenue cut-off have received criticism from some Twitch streamers. The reception of this program within the streaming community remains to be seen, and it is uncertain whether it will effectively address concerns about revenue sharing on the platform.
Shop 'Til You Drop: Twitch Takes on Live Shopping
Refinery29 made history on Twitch by successfully piloting a live shopping stream, becoming the first third-party company or brand to administer such an experience on the platform. The live shopping event, called “Most Wanted,” took place on Refinery29’s Twitch channel and featured a range of sunscreen products as part of their ongoing campaign to raise awareness about sun protection.
This live shopping event was significant because it marked the first time a third-party group utilized Twitch’s “Stream Picks” overlay tool. This extension allows viewers to access product information and make purchases through affiliate links.
For Twitch, this event showcased a potential new revenue stream for creators who may have had concerns about the platform’s updated branded content guidelines.
Previously the extension has been used by Twitch for its Pog Picks shopping event timed to the holiday season.
The founder of Gaming Careers with a borderline unhealthy obsession for cameras, microphones, and all things streaming. He gets mistaken for Stephen Merchant at least 5 times a day.
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