Twitch today announced a new affiliate program that will let pretty much interested streamer qualify to earn money as they play. Similar to YouTube’s Partner Program, Twitch’s new tier is meant to be available to any streamer who meets a baseline criteria involving 500 minutes streamed in the last 30 days, at least three concurrent viewers, and at least 50 followers. Twitch hopes the program will expand the number of streamers on its platform who use streaming as a means to earn money and eventually even to make a living.
As to how the program fits in with its existing partnership program, which is what lets streamers offered subscriptions to their channels for monthly fees and collect ad revenue, Twitch sees it as a step on the way to becoming a partner, a process that is more intensive and involves an application review. “Twitch is built upon looking to our content creators with both large and small communities to learn how we can best serve their needs,” said Ethan Evans, Twitch’s senior vice president of commerce and developer success, in a statement. “With our upcoming Affiliate Program, we will be able to open up a means of support from the community to a whole new class of creators numbering in the tens of thousands.”
The program will start with what Twitch calls “Cheering with Bits,” which is a micropayments system that lets viewers buy a certain number of animated emoticons to use in a streamer’s chat window. Over time, the company plans to roll out more monetization options for those in the affiliate program, including subscriptions, ad revenue splits, and merchandizing tie-ins. Twitch is launching the program shortly, it says, and it will start sending out invites to prospective members who meet the criteria over the course of the first several weeks of the launch.

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