The concept of a subathon on Twitch originates from the combination of the words “subscriber” and “marathon.” Its intent is to help a channel create an influx of subscribers with one long stream.
This concept was largely made popular by an event that now YouTube streamer Ludwig ran in 2021.
Ludwig’s subathon started in March and ended in April after 31 days straight of streaming, including while he was asleep. In that time, he broke the record for concurrent subscribers on Twitch with around 282,000.
But it’s not just streaming for a long time and putting a buzzword in the title of the stream that makes a subathon.
A subathon is almost like a game that creators play with their stream by starting their stream with a timer that’s counting down to zero. In Ludwig’s case, he started his stream with 24 hours on the clock. Once the clock strikes zero, the subathon is over.
But here’s the catch. For every subscription that the streamer gets, more time gets added to the timer. This makes it so that viewers and fans of the channel can extend the stream by subbing to the channel or gifting subs to the channel.
While Ludwig’s month-long broadcast is the most high-profile subathon, it’s a strategy that other streamers have used to varying degrees of success.
Every content creator will attach different stipulations to their subathon. Many will set a hard cap to how long the stream can last. Additionally, streamers might set different rules for how much time gets added to the stream when a new subscription comes through.
The one constant is that whenever the time cap is reached or the timer hits zero, the subathon ends and the content creator will conclude their stream. So if you find yourself watching a creator that you like who’s doing a subathon, don’t be afraid to sub or gift a sub to support the marathon stream.