Streaming’s the evolution of reality TV with more reality in it. In gaming, podcasting, ASMR (or at least what ASMR was supposed to be,), etc., streamers share a sizeable chunk of their reality with an audience.
Now, this reality may be audience-induced and driven, but it still is as close to the real ‘you’ as possible, where you are the streamer.
How much do streamers make then?
They make loads. Streaming creates an audience sporting enviable retention statistics, the holy grail for businesses who pay huge bucks just to advertise to this crowd who’ll surely log in tomorrow as well.
That’s the gist of it, how streaming works, on a conceptual level. Let’s dive into everything else.
Top Streaming Platforms and How They Print $
Anybody who spends a decent amount of time on the internet knows about YouTube. It has invaded our daily lives, and for many of us, it’s one of our primary sources for daily entertainment (or TikTok maybe?)
All this leads to companies studying market trends and deducing that the most eyeballs their product is going to get are probably videos.
With regards to the same, more and more ads are getting run on these platforms because that is a huge deciding factor on where your purchasing power is exercised.
Finally, we come to the content creator, who obviously pockets a cut from the ads as their profit for letting Google run ads on their channel/videos.
Twitch is a different beast, however. Your persona largely determines the amount of success you are going to have on this platform, but there are caveats. Just having a colorful personality doesn’t mean anything on Twitch.
The same follows for the others like Mixer, Facebook Live, IGTV, etc.
The Tier System
Let’s take in a case study to understand the business of streaming better.
Gamer, streamer, tutorial expert, and streaming coach Harris ‘Alpha Gaming’ Heller describes the earning pyramid of streaming as a three-tier setup. He further mentions that it is “a cardinal sin” for content creators to display their earnings from these platforms.
Which makes a lot of sense when you think about it. We watch content creators’ everyday lives because they are, well, normal.
And once we find out about the purchasing power that they have, it becomes increasingly difficult for us to continue that relationship of relatability.
Alpha expands upon his explanation of the Tier system, in saying that the tiers of the earning pyramid aren’t really in pyramid form, i.e., the tiers aren’t mutually exclusive to each other.
Streamers start by, obviously, streaming and building an audience. Alpha claims that his audience sits at around 400-500 per stream, and his paid subscriber count sits at roughly 2.5K. He goes further into detail about his specific Tier 1, which he describes as multi-platform integration.
Most streamers will have secondary entertainment that they try to provide to build an audience on another platform and integrate them into their main one.
In this case, Alpha says that his main platform is Twitch, and the amount of YouTube tutorials he has provides immense value to his audience on the platform, a percentage of which then start consuming his content on his primary platform.
That, put simply, is multi-platform integration.
For example, celebrity streamers like Shroud will hire an editor to upload a couple of highlight videos pulled straight from their stream in a week, which can depend on the viewership on the secondary platform, more than double their earnings.
Multi-platform integration also raises the value of the sponsorships that you can get, which in turn nets you a bigger profit and more sponsorship, resembling a revolving door.
Tier 2 is basically galvanizing your source of income. In Alpha’s case, he says Tier 2 offers you better sponsorships which helps in case the earnings that you get from just your audience diminish in a month.
His monthly income can thus, in his own words, go upwards from $20,000 in a single month. Now that is a crazy amount, but nowhere as crazy as Ninja making $2-3 million streaming with celebrated hip-hop mogul Drake.
As well as sponsorships, affiliate marketing is a huge part of a streamer’s income. Alpha’s affiliate marketing deals can net him quite a good chunk of his monthly average.
Tier 3 is multiplication. Now we go into business ownership territory, and this is where Alpha makes the difference between the thought process behind the tiers.
Each tier expands upon the sources and the scale of income that streamers can have, and each tier increases their chances and options of pursuing other avenues and expanding their business.
As the most famous example of that statement, Matthew ‘NadeShot’ Haag runs the incredibly successful 100 Thieves in California, which along with his own content, has significantly boosted his earnings and will continue to do so.
With that out of the way, we move on to your favorite part. How much do streamers make?
And how did they get there?
How much does Twitch pay?
And the likes.
How Much Do Streamers Make? Top 27 Streamers Today
27. The Grefg
With an estimated $851,780 earned in the last year, The Grefg is a Spanish YouTuber and streamer who primarily plays Fortnite.
The 24-year-old has a mammoth 17 million subscribers on YouTube, the sixth-most in Spain, along with three songs and two books also being credited to his name.
With a net worth surpassing 10 million dollars, AuronPlay is yet another Spaniard who has a massive presence on Twitch and YouTube.
The 32-year old has made a career off of his satirical takes and commentaries on several world affairs. AuronPlay earned a sweet $592,693 in this lockdown era.
Jaryd Russell Lazar, better known as Summit1g, has an extensively wide fan base on Twitch, which has netted him $543,136 in the last year.
Summit is a retired competitive veteran who plied his craft and built his audience off the massively popular multiplayer first-person shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Better known as xQc, Felix Lengyel is a former Overwatch pro circuit veteran-turned-streamer. Xqc is known for his extremely outspoken and colorful personality and has made $477,012 in the last year.
Xqc mostly spends his time playing a variety of different games and talking to his viewers on Twitch.
Nicholas ‘NICKMERCS’ Kolcheff is a 30-year-old American streamer who is also co-owner of the widely popular gaming and entertainment outfit known as the FaZe clan.
Nick made $446,046 in the last year, which makes him the fifth highest-paid streamer in the last year on our list.
Ali Hassan, better known on Twitch and YouTube as SypherPK, started his journey showing off his skill at Fortnite and gradually grew that into a very successful YouTube channel.
Sypher earned a cool $429,672 during the lockdown, which is a testament to his presence on multiple platforms.
31-year-old Timothy John Betar is a streamer and internet sensation who made his name from his extravagant antics and versatility, playing many video games, amassing hours of content, and an international audience.
Tim has made $400,811 over the period of lockdown.
Ruben Doblas ‘Rubius’ Gundersen is a Spanish-Norwegian YouTuber who cultivated a following through playing multiple games and building a brand.
At present, he is a 31-year-old streamer with a massive following of 40 million subscribers and content that has amassed over 9 billion views. He earned $343,664 over the course of the last year.
Jens Knossalla, better known by his online persona TheRealKnossi, is a German content creator.
As far as streaming is concerned, Knossalla is known for his live commentaries on poker games, and on tv he is known for participating in multiple formats.
Knossalla made $337,915 over the last year. No slouch.
The king of presence himself, Guy ‘DrDisrespect’ Beahm is a brash, outspoken and explosive streamer who primarily is known for his proficiency in several video games ranging from Call of Duty Warzone to PLAYERUNKNOWN’s Battlegrounds.
The Doc, as he is commonly known among fans, made an eye-watering $318,604 even after getting permanently banned from Twitch.
Turner Tenney, who goes by the internet alias Tfue, is a 23-year-old streamer who established himself as a talented Fortnite player and has built a massive following in the last few years.
Tfue is also an esports athlete and earned himself a grand total of $286,787 in the last year.
Imane Anys, better known as ‘Pokimane’ among her army of fans and followers, is a Canadian female Gamer, Streamer, and YouTuber known mostly for her live streams where she plays a variety of video games and talks to her audience.
Imane is also part of an entertainment group called Offline TV and made $255.526 over the lockdown period.
Tyler Polchow is a retired professional Call of Duty player, who streams the same on Twitch.
Going by the alias TeePee, Tyler is known for entering the MLG world through a random Call of Duty lobby when he was a teenager. Over the last year, Tyler has raked in a cool $251,086.
Marcel Eris, better known by his gamertag MontanaBlack88, is a German YouTuber and streamer who built a major fanbase in his homeland before becoming the highest-subscribed streamer on Twitch in September 2019.
The 31-year-old cites his troubled upbringing as a reason to want to inspire people. Marcel has made $242,072 in the last 12 months.
Zack, the mononymous streamer known as Asmongold in the onlineverse, is a 31-year-old variety content creator from the United States who rose to fame with his excellent World of Warcraft gameplay and reactionary content.
In the past year, Asmongold made $239,662 from streaming alone, discounting his work on his media output group One True King.
Ludwig Anders ‘ludwig’ Ahgren is a 26-year-old multi-platform streamer, content creator, and esports commentator.
One of the most versatile content creators primarily on Twitch, ludwig streams content either focused around video games or a number of contests and game shows.
In the past year, ludwig has made combined earnings of $214,760.
Benjamin Lupo began his career creating content around Bungie’s Destiny, later moving on to Fortnite where he saw astounding success, which led to him streaming with major league names such as Ninja, and TimTheTatman.
Lupo has also been a strong voice in the community with his commentary on various social issues surrounding gaming and has raked in $212,317 inside last year.
Along with being a singer, rapper, and music producer, Ronald Joseph Radke has found immense success streaming on Twitch to his listeners and fans, with his over-the-top rocker persona and post-punk gait.
Along with that, he still maintains touring with his band and has made $200,214 over the last year.
Alan Ferreira, a 31-year-old, made his career streaming a variety of games, including the horror cult classic Five Nights at Freddy’s.
The Brazilian has a huge following in his native country and is one of the most viewed and subbed channels on Twitch. In the period of lockdown, alanzoka, as he is known on Twitch, made $195,600.
Thomas George Cassell, better known by his online persona Syndicate, is an English streamer and content creator who is known mostly for his content on YouTube and Twitch.
Thomas excels at posting gameplay-related commentary and has built a considerable following netting him $191,407 since 2020, a substantial amount.
Bruce Greene is a 39-year-old actor, voice artist, and all-around content creator and video game journalist with one of the best CVs in all of entertainment, having worked with the Rooster Teeth and the now-defunct Machinima.
Last year, Bruce made $191,314 off of his content on Twitch and Youtube.
Another mononymous streamer who hasn’t revealed much of the details of his personal life and childhood, Jesse, commonly known as MOONMOON on the internet, is a 31-year-old streamer who got his big break from playing Overwatch, and now streams a variety of games on his Twitch channel.
In the past year, MOONMOON made $189,643.
PayMoneyWubby is an American streamer and content creator who is mostly known for his comedic personality similar to other YouTube and Twitch celebrities such as iDubbz and FilthyFrank.
Not much else is known about him apart from the fact that he ‘doesn’t know where the state of Georgia is.’ Well, he certainly knows where the money is, making $186,562 in just the last year.
The first VTuber or virtual persona content creator on this list, AdmiralBahroo or Bahroo is mostly known for streaming XCOM and chatting with his fans and followers.
Not having a physical presence on Twitch didn’t hurt his finances though, as he made over $184,000 in the period of lockdown.
Kevin Andreas Teller, better known as papaplatte on Twitch, is another German streamer who made his name in a variety of games including Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Valorant, Super Mario, and Fortnite.
He is a partnered livestreamer making his living off of Twitch and has made $184,286 since last year.
Edwin Castro, also known as Castro_1021, is a 29-year-old streamer on Twitch, who has a gigantic following on the platform playing mostly EA’s latest FIFA titles.
He is also known for his charity work and long hours of streaming and has made $179,260 since the period of lockdown.
Cristiano Spadaccini, a 25-year-old Italian better known by his internet alias Zano XVII, is a streamer who has a massive following on Twitch where he mostly streams FIFA content.
Currently, Zano has over 553,000 followers on Twitch and has made over $172,678 from his content on multiple platforms.
This list isn’t just a study of analytics, it goes to show how much the definition of entertainment for us has changed. Well, in short, now we want to see people playing a video game and interacting with them instead of playing the game ourselves and interacting with our friends.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s a bad thing, however, as content creators like Ninja, Pokimane, Sykkuno, Shroud, and Nadeshot have fulfilling and value-adding content which is easier to consume without a lot of mental tax on their audiences.
That being said, these are just numbers based on subscriptions, bits, and donations to the channels and not their marketing earnings.
A streamer or content creator can have multiple partnerships and their own merchandise marketed to their audience because of their sheer pulling power, and we feel this is what prime-time entertainment is shifting towards; making the niche into the mainstream.
This article wouldn’t have been possible without the metrics provided by Casumo for the top 50 streamers according to earnings across the board.