One of Twitch’s most popular streamers, “Trainwreckstv,” caused a huge buzz on the internet after announcing a new live-streaming platform called Kick in December. Because of its lucrative revenue system, the three-month-old Kick is stirring content creators’ interests, and at least two of Twitch’s top streamers have moved to the new platform.
It’s no secret that top Twitch streamers make millions annually. For instance, the highest-paid content creator for the platform made USD$9.6 million from August 2019 to October 2021. Still, there’s widespread discontent about the platform’s revenue system and how they treat streamers, causing frustration to famous and small-time content creators alike.
But who is Trainwreckstv? And is Kick enough of a threat to the world’s most popular live-streaming platform made for gamers? Read on to learn more details about Twitch and Kick’s revenue systems, their differences, and stakeholders’ thoughts about this new platform.
Who is Trainwreckstv?
Tyler “Trainwreckstv“ Niknam recently highlighted the stark difference in revenue-sharing between Kick and Twitch. Specifically, he illustrates that Kick offers 90% of revenues to their creators, a higher percentage from Twitch, which only gives 50%.
Trainwreckstv’s series of tweets and replies ended up garnering several reactions from the streaming community, with many questioning Twitch’s revenue system.
Niknam, an Arizona native of Iranian-American heritage, gained his bachelor’s degree in analytic philosophy from Arizona State University in 2014. A year later, he started streaming on Twitch and grew his channel for over seven years. Today, he has 2.1 million followers on Twitch.
A known gamer, Niknam also dabbles in online gambling. Trainwreckstv was notorious for streaming 16-hours-a-day play slot games as a Stake affiliate on Twitch before their gambling ban in October 2022. Before the ban, slots were a top 10 category on the streaming platform, and with the newly created gap in the market, new platforms like Kick were able to launch, reaching one million users in a little over two months.
Registering 74.83 million hours watched, the total time the live stream was watched by all viewers has earned TrainwrecksTV the number eight spot in Esports’ most popular Twitch streamers of 2022.
Last year, over 90% of Trainwreckstv’s total hours watched featured broadcasts in the slots category. However, according to an article published in The Sun, his net worth is a source of speculation, with some sites indicating he could be worth as high as USD$ 15 million. As of 2021, he became one of the top Twitch broadcasters and is thought to be earning USD$2.4 million.
What is Trainwreckstv’s role on Kick?
On December 05, 2022, Trainwreckstv publicized his extreme frustration over the most popular streaming platform, saying, “Twitch has built an empire off of our backs and has the audacity to spit in all of our faces by not only giving us no financial security, with its inconsistent policies but by also cutting our pay in places that they have no right to cut.”
In the post, Niknam also announced he’s working to improve the live streaming world by being a ‘non-owner advisor and non-exclusive broadcaster’ of the new platform Kick. The player admitted he’s studying all the streaming platforms’ terms and conditions to launch his own.
The famous streamer also directed post readers to the Kick site and amassed thousands of followers overnight. Trainwreckstv has 82,771 followers on his Kick.com channel as of March 3, 2023.
What’s wrong with Twitch’s revenue system?
Twitch has had issues with its top streamers in recent years and is no stranger to famous broadcasters jumping over to their competitors. Complaints were mainly focused on the disparities in their treatment of top content creators, arbitrary imposition of pay cuts, and other guidelines.
In September 2022, Twitch announced that it would regulate gambling content on the platform. Shortly after, the Amazon subsidiary company declared they would change how they divide the earnings with the content creators.
From a 70/30 revenue split, with the higher profits going to broadcasters, Twitch increased its pay claim to 50%, which means creators will now only get a 50% cut. In other words, those who used to have gotten USD$70 for every USD$100 earned will only receive USD$50 with the new payment structure.
The company added that the more popular streamers could retain the 70/30 sharing scheme, but only for the first USD$100,000 they earn. Any amount beyond this limit is subjected to the 50/50 share. Ad shares, however, were slightly higher at 55% for the creator.
Representatives of Twitch explained that the rising costs of operations and further investments in their staff and products were the primary reasons for such changes. As expected, the internet was ablaze with negative reactions from streamers across all levels. Some content creators questioned the decision, saying tech giant Amazon already backs the platform and that there haven’t been major upgrades on the platform’s features. Still, others claimed that the moderation experience isn’t necessarily seamless.
In his December 5 post, Trainwreckstv also explained his frustrations over this revenue-sharing system: “I don’t believe it’s right to take such a high percentage of the work that a streamer does. Twitch does nearly no marketing for streamers, no discovery, and limited help in building their business. Those streamers only succeed from the blood, sweat, and time they put into themselves. Twitch’s only role is as a website host. Given their contribution, it is absurd that they take 50% of our income.”
Before the profit-sharing scheme revision, Twitch offered streamers several earning opportunities and perks from donations, subscriptions, and one free monthly subscription for their Amazon Prime accounts.
Kick’s revenue system favors streamers.
Kick offers a revenue split of 95% to streamers and 5% to the platform, whereas Twitch only gives 50% to the streamer. At 50%, every Twitch streamer receives USD$2.50 for each subscriber and even less if they’re located outside developed countries.
Kick’s industry-disrupting features, such as the 95% revenue split and 100% tips to the streamer, have attracted many popular streamers to the platform, including Trainwreckstv himself. Besides these lucrative offers, the new live-streaming platform also boasts a clear set of terms of service and rules.
For instance, it provides an exclusive creator program to allow streamers to earn a steady income according to their viewer count and watch hours, so they don’t get negatively impacted by drastic dips in their subscriber count.
How much do other video streamers earn from other platforms?
The 95% share for content creators is currently the highest among popular video hosting services. Here’s a list of the average revenue splits curated from various sources:
- YouTube creators earn 55% of the revenue, which means USD$55 goes to the channel owner for every USD$100 advertising charge or around USD$18 per 1,000 ad views.
- Subscription-based adult site OnlyFans pays out 80%, keeping 20% of the earnings as a fee.
- Facebook gaming offers a 70/30 revenue split in favor of the streamer. Content creators can benefit from subscriptions made through desktop, though, as the platform has waived its share, allowing streamers to collect full payment in such situations.
Trainwreckstv’s pronouncements get mixed reactions.
Trainwreckstv’s tweets about the discrepancy between the two platforms have sparked a conversation in the streaming community about Twitch’s revenue system and how it treats content creators. Many streamers have expressed their frustration with Twitch’s revenue policy, questioning whether the platform treats them fairly and calling for more transparency.
On February 21, he tweeted: “It’s wild how I can gift 100 subs ($500) on Kick, and the creator gets ~$475 of it, on Twitch you get ~$250 of it.” The micro-blog entry, viewed over two million times, gathered over 14,000 likes and 509 retweets in just five days.
One user couldn’t agree more, saying she’s made “more on Kick in one week than working on Twitch for a month. Others commented that the split isn’t even 50-50, while others have opened an account or expressed interest in switching to the new live video streaming platform.
Besides Trainwreckstv, Kick also got another of Twitch’s top streamers, Adin Ross, who announced the transfer on February 13. The popular streamer had over seven million followers on Twitch before he was banned in January 2023. Ross has gained almost 110,000 followers less than two weeks after the switch to Kick.
Some popular Twitch streamers are open to moving to Kick, including Felix “xQc” Lengyel, who initially responded ‘no’ when fellow streamer Kai Cenat asked him about moving to Kick. He later recanted and said he doesn’t know what the future brings.
Kick’s revenue scheme and lack of transparency raise questions
Other streaming community members, however, expressed doubts about the new platform’s staying power due to its impressive revenue-sharing scheme. Kick also doesn’t have information about its investors and founders on its site’s Beta version.
Interviewed by the Washington Post, Gil Hirsh, CEO and co-founder of streaming site StreamElements, said, “The good news is the industry can sustain multiple streaming platforms since there is a tremendous audience for live gaming content, but getting to that level is a lot of work based on the graveyard of failed attempts.”
The Washington Post is owned by Jeff Bezos, who also owns Amazon and its subsidiary Twitch.
Senpai Gaming, a YouTube streamer with 660,000 subscribers, expressed skepticism about the 95% sharing scheme, saying it “sounds too good to be true, so it probably is.” He said Twitch would focus on online gambling because of its links to Stake.com, leaving other content creators to dust.
Another Twitch streamer, Ben “Cohh Carnage” Cassell, tweeted: “Not gonna lie, a lot of this seems so good, it’s unsustainable.” Cassell, however, backtracked as he told the Post, “However, the more competition in the streaming realm, the better. We’ll have to see how it works out long-term with their revenue model, content delivery systems, and supporters.”
How has Twitch.com performed in recent years?
Twitch, which has existed since 2012, has exploded in recent years. According to Twitchtracker.com, the streaming platform recorded six billion watch hours with 300,000 unique content creators per month when it started in 2012.
As of 2022, however, it managed to capture 1346 billion watched minutes, with 7.6 million unique broadcasters streaming monthly. Last year’s figures show over 2.5 million average concurrent viewers watching any of the 92,600 streamers simultaneously.
Despite these impressive figures, concurrent viewers, unique creators, and streamers have shown slight dips compared to their 2021 figures. However, Twitch remains the most popular live streaming platform, ahead of its competitors—YouTube and Facebook—which are lucky enough not to suffer the same fate as Microsoft’s Mixer, which only lasted four years before being shut down in 2020.
With its steady and continuing growth, outperforming Twitch is an uphill battle, especially for a new streaming platform like Kick. At the same time, attracting more than one million subscribers in just over two months isn’t a bad sign. Besides, streamers are quite happy with what they’ve been getting. So, while some streamers and players are raising red flags, it could help if the industry takes a wait-and-see approach to this three-month-old live-streaming platform.
How Kick.com Beta looks like
Kick’s gambling channel features online casino games and crypto giveaways, but fears about the platform being purely about gambling seem unfounded. The app’s interface features music, creatives, just chatting, IRL (in real life), games, gambling, and a host of other channels, so there are several options for streamers to choose from, depending on their niche.
Trainwreckstv’s comparison of subscription revenue on Kick and Twitch has revealed a significant difference between the two platforms, with Kick providing a much more attractive revenue split to content creators.
This has sparked a conversation in the streaming community about Twitch’s revenue system and how it treats its streamers. With many top streamers flocking to Kick, the platform is emerging as a viable competitor to Twitch.
A number of popular Twitch streamers, however, expressed their doubts about Kick. While the revenue-sharing scheme is indeed attractive, some believe it is too good to be true and is more likely unsustainable. Moreover, the streaming platform is still new, and changes may still be introduced over time.