It's not always clear how to go from "amateur broadcaster" to "professional streamer." Twitch recognized this basic truth with the announcement of a new Twitch Affiliate Program, which will let you earn some money as you continue to expand your audience, even if you haven't reached the popularity required to officially partner up with the service.
Twitch said in its announcement that the new Twitch Affiliate Program "provides a stepping stone to bridge the gap between emerging streamer and Twitch Partner." Right now becoming an Affiliate doesn't offer much--it merely lets people Cheer with Bits, animated emoticons you purchase from the service--but Twitch said it will soon expand to include "basic versions" of its subscriptions, game commerce, and advertising revenue sources.
Partners will have access to more tools than Affiliates. Twitch said that Affiliates will be able to use one subscriber emote, for example, whereas Partners will be able to choose from a set of 50 emotes. Partners will also receive a new Verified Chat Badge (which looks a lot like Twitter's verification badge) to further differentiate themselves from audience members, enthusiast streamers, and Affiliates within stream chats.
The differences between Affiliates and Partners is made even clearer in this comparison:
The addition of Affiliates makes it a little easier to follow the road to Twitch stardom. It's easy for anyone to stream games, sure, but it wasn't quite clear how to turn that passion into a career. Affiliates should make it easier for Twitch to encourage amateurs to improve the quality of their streams, get more people to visit the service, and produce copious amounts of content that it can monetize better than videos shared by amateur streamers.
Here are the criteria Twitch is using to figure out who can become an Affiliate and who's still an amateur, at least to start. You must have:
- At least 500 total minutes broadcast in the last 30 days
- At least 7 unique broadcast days in the last 30 days
- An average of 3 concurrent viewers or more over the last 30 days
- At least 50 Followers
Twitch said in its blog post that it will start inviting qualified streamers to the Twitch Affiliate Program over the course of "several weeks." The company didn't offer a firm release date for the new program--it merely said that it will launch "very soon!"