Twitch defends 50/50 sub split amid growing competition from Kick and YouTube

Calum Patterson
Twitch logo on purple background

Twitch’s chief product officer Tom Verrilli and chief monetization officer Mike Minton have addressed the controversial 50/50 sub split on the platform, and how they plan to make Twitch the best place for streamers despite rivals offering much higher splits.

It’s been a turbulent start to the year in the livestreaming space, with new platform Kick gaining some momentum, but also mired in controversy over its connection to gambling site Stake and the enforcement of community guidelines.

Part of Kick’s appeal for streamers though is the 95/5 sub split, with Twitch’s 50/50 split paling in comparison. However, Twitch remains steadfast in this approach, and two officer’s from the Amazon-owned platform have given clarity on why.

Twitch doubles down on 50/50 split

Speaking to The Verge, Minton acknowledged the negative feedback from streamers about the 50/50 split. “There certainly was loud conversations within the community in terms of their feedback and reception.

“We talked a lot about how we’re in this together, and part of that is innovation,” Minton continued. “We are committed to continuing to improve our monetization products and building new monetization products, and at the end of the day, we are committed to increasing the amount of money a streamer earns.”

Rather than simply opting for a higher sub split, such as YouTube’s 70/30 split, Twitch is apparently focused on making Twitch overall a more lucrative place to stream through product innovations and sponsorships for streamers.

Adin Ross Twitch
Adin Ross left Twitch for Kick after he was banned, and has boasted about the higher sub split.

One example pointed to by Minton was the ad incentive program. This provides streamers with a pre-agreed payment provided they stream a certain number of hours and run a specific amount of ads.

“The acceptance and engagement on the ad incentive program far exceeded our expectations. So streamers are clearly seeing the value in running ads now.”

Chief product officer, Tom Virelli, said the focus is on helping streamers to grow their communities.

“We want to make it easier for creators to take their amazing Twitch content and distribute it,” Virelli said. “But we also need to take more responsibility for delivering viewers straight to streamers while they are on Twitch.”

Virelli references a currently in-development feature called “Guest Star.” It’s not exactly clear what this feature is (The Verge describes it as “an integrated tool that allows streamers to easily feature other creators or their audience in a livestream”), but Virelli said he thinks it is the “next evolution” of Twitch chat.

The flat-out refusal to increase subscription splits has already incentivized some streamers to move on to pastures new, but if Twitch can in fact make the platform the most lucrative place to stream through these other methods, it may yet retain its livestreaming crown.

In related Twitch news, the company is set to lay off 400 staff this week.