Twitch was once the sole center for almost all content creators in the livestreaming space. Though Twitch is still currently the largest in terms of streamers and viewers, we have seen various high profile live streamers depart from the platform.
Various platforms have attempted to cut into Twitch’s viewership share and rise as a competitor throughout the past decade, though few have seen success. The Microsoft-backed Mixer and Facebook Gaming livestreaming wing both signed big exclusive deals with major Twitch streamers, though both ultimately fell to obscurity only years later.
For what appears to be the first time, two competitors in YouTube and Kick have emerged as potential threats to Twitch’s streaming monopoly. While both of these platforms have draws bringing streamers in, Twitch has also rolled out new updates that have simultaneously pushed content creators away.
Why are streamers leaving Twitch?
Before we go into why streamers are electing to create on other platforms, we should look at exactly why long-time Twitch streamers are being pushed away from the platform.
The first reason is Twitch relatively low revenue share. Back in October 2022, Twitch cut its revenue share to an even 50-50 between streamer and platform. This resulted in a massive outcry from creators whose earnings were severely impacted by this switch.
Several months after this, Twitch reintroduced a higher 70-30 split for partnered streamers. The streaming giant added several stipulations to achieve this notably higher percentage, such as reaching 350 concurrent subscribers as well as other partnership requirements which involve minimum viewership thresholds.
Next, Twitch underwent a massive controversy in June 2023 that saw countless creators threaten a mass exodus. Twitch rolled out wildly unpopular prospective changes to branded content. Burned-in, banner, and audio ads were all disallowed while on-screen logos were capped at only three-percent of the screen size.
Streamers of all sizes made their grievances with these changes widely known, with entire networks of creators threatening to leave Twitch. Though Twitch rolled back the branded content changes and clarified the policy update’s goals, this controversy only led to further discontent with the platform among creators.
Why are streamers moving to Kick?
Kick and YouTube have emerged as the two primary rivals to Twitch in recent months. YouTube already has a substantial base as the most popular video hosting platform online, and it aggressively began signing popular Twitch creators to exclusive deals.
Though YouTube signed the likes of Valkyrae, Ludwig, CouRageJD, TimTheTatman, Myth, and more, the website still has not fully created a dedicated livestreaming section comparable to Twitch or other competitors. Instead, it appears YouTube intends to make Twitch streamers into more traditional YouTube creators with livestreaming as an auxiliary.
On the other hand, Kick has altered the streaming ecosystem more directly. Lead by former Twitch streamer Trainwreck and backed by a high profile gambling website, Kick has led with a radical, creator-first agenda.
First, Kick boasts a 95-5 revenue share in favor of the streamer, making this by far the highest creator payout. Next, Kick has signed creators to massive, non-exclusive deals. This means that creators have received huge contracts with Kick, though can still retain their core audience on other platforms and make the potential transition far easier with less loss in viewership.
Due to both the website’s affiliation with its gambling sponsor and its the absence of an effective ToS, Kick has been subject to criticism. Though Kick is still nowhere near Twitch’s sheer size, the website’s contrasting priorities have positioned it as an interesting competitor.