Note: These are simply my estimates based on reverse engineering my research. Although I’m 99% sure it’s more than $1.5M each month.
I love Twitch. I’ve been fascinated with the company as a whole during their Justin.tv days. Since they officially launched as “Twitch” back in 2011, I have religiously followed their company and pretty much streaming in general.
There have been some streamers that have made a significant living simply by streaming their favorite video games. Top streamers often get 10 thousand to 40 thousand viewers at any given moment.
But today, I want to talk about the Twitch’s biggest streamer to date: Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins. More specifically, I want to break down how much Ninja makes each month by streaming Fortnite on Twitch.
Here’ a TL:DR version:
- Estimated $1,750,000 million each month (at the minimum).
- Biggest sources of income are Twitch subscriptions and ad revenue.
- Only streaming, not including sponsorships/partnerships/YouTube/merchandise.
Even though he confirmed making $500,000/month back in March during his meteoric rise to #1, I don’t think that’s even close to what Ninja actually makes monthly.
I want to get to the truth. I’m going to exclude sponsorship & YouTube revenue as those can be their own topics of discussion.
There are 3 major buckets that most Twitch streamers are able to drive revenue.
- Twitch Subscriptions
- Ad Revenue
There might be some other ways Ninja makes money such as merchandise and partnerships, but I want to stick with streaming all by itself.
Money Made From Twitch Subscriptions
Ninja has done an incredible job of keeping his momentum on Twitch ever since he streamed with Drake back in March. Pulling data from twitchstats.net, Ninja has averaged over 200,000 paid Twitch subscriptions in the last 4 months.
Considering that the lowest subscription amount is $4.99/month. You would think that paid subs alone would make Ninja a millionaire right out of the gate. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case here.
On Average: out of the $4.99 that is paid for by a subscriber, usually, a streamer only gets about half, or about $2.50.
Similar to Youtube, Twitch does provide medium-sized and top streamers a bigger cut based on their ability to bring in viewers (also to prevent competitive streaming sites from stealing top stars).
Realistically, someone of Ninja’s streaming caliber should be able to keep at least 80% of subscriber revenue. This means that he keeps about $4 per every sub.
This is not including premium subs. For those of you who don’t know, there are sub tiers that vary in price, $4.99 (or Twitch Prime, which is equivalent to the lowest tier), $9.99, and $24.99. I don’t think I’m being unreasonable to assume the following.
- 80% of Ninja’s subscribers are in the $4.99 tier
- 15% are in the $9.99 tier
- 5% are in the $24.99 tier
Breaking down the numbers we get these amounts.
- Tier 1 -> 160,000 Subs * $4.99 = $798,400
- Tier 2 -> 30,000 Subs * $9.99 = $299,700
- Tier 3-> 10,000 Subs * $24.99 = $249,000
- Total Before Twitch’s Cut = $1,347,100 (Ninja keeps 80%)
Ninja’s Revenue After Twitch’s Cut = $1,077,680
It’s possible I over estimated with tier three subscribers, but he’s still making a cool million each month on subs alone. It also is possible that Ninja gets 90–95% of all subscriber money instead of the 80%.
Money Made From Donations
Outside of subscriptions, donations are another way for a streamer to make revenue. There are two types of donations that are used on Twitch.
- Standard Donations — This usually is a link to a PayPal page or a link to a streaming software service (streamlabs) that keeps track of donations.
- Twitch Cheers /Bits— This is where users can spend money on Twitch currency (bits), then use that currency to directly donate to a streamer.
I separated these two types of donations because with standard donations, they often come with some fees and keeping track of donations varies on the software. As for Twitch Bits, 1 bit = 1 cent.
Considering that the month of June is almost completed, these “monthly” amounts should be fairly accurate.
On the top 10 alone for standard donations, it totals $6,000. Based on how consistent the bottom 5 amounts are, I am guesstimating that there are several other dozen donations around $100–$300 mark, and the hundreds of donations that are below $100.
Keeping that in mind, I estimate about $25,000 is being donated via standard donations each month (although I think I’m low-balling).
Twitch cheers/bits are a bit easier to track but require some more math. Remember, 1 bit = 1 cent.
Look above, this is just the last 5 days. The top ‘cheer’ was 35,000 bits. Which is $350 in donations to Ninja.
The top ten total bits is equal to $1,335 (likely to move up to about $1,600 after 7 days). Now, comparing standard donations to Twitch Cheers:
- It seems that standard donations used more frequently than Twitch Cheers
- The average amount of standard donations tend to be higher compared to Twitch Cheers.
Even though the top 10 averages about $1,600 a week, all of the other bit totals outside of the top 10 will likely total about $4,000/week (including top 10).
Total amount earned my Twitch cheers/bits = $16,000/month
Total Donation Amount = $41,000/month
I’m pretty sure 99% of streamers would love to make that in a year. I’m very confident that this amount is still on the ‘low-end’. While Ninja rakes in a one million each month on subscriber money alone, $41,000/month is nothing to sneeze at.
NOTE: THIS IS ONLY AN AVERAGE! IT’S BEEN ON RECORD THAT PEOPLE DONATE $10K+ TO NINJA DIRECTLY.
Money Made From Ad Revenue
This one is probably the biggest wildcard as there a lot of different factors that come into play. It doesn’t help that all Twitch Partners are under contract to not discuss revenue or specifics.
Now, I haven’t heard anything regarding ad rates so I’m assuming video ads are being paid on a Cost Per Thousand (CPM) view basis. I’m also going to assume that the rates are comparable to Youtube and other video networks.
Normally CPMs vary between $2-$8+ on twitch. This means that for every 1000 viewers watching an ad, Twitch receives X amount. Since Ninja is primarily in tech/gaming, it’s very likely that the CPM is about $8–$10. For the sake of low-balling, I’m going to say it’s about $8 per thousand views.
On any given day Ninja averages between 125K-250K concurrent viewers(people watching live). Even as I write this post he’s got 225K viewers.
Let’s assume he has 150,000 viewers throughout his stream and crunch the numbers.
- There is a 15 or 30-second ad at the beginning of the stream when you first hop onto his stream.
- There are another 1–2 ads that show in between Fornite games.
- Considering Ninja is one of the best Fortnite players, he can probably play about 3–5 games an hour.
- Even though Ninja streams twice a day (morning/evening), he averages about 8 hours a day minimum.
Time for maths! (for the sake of simplicity, I’ll only count total ads over the stream)
- 1 Ad Beginning of the stream
- 6 ads hourly (average of 1.5 ads per 4 games)
- 6 ads * 8 hours a day = 48 ads
- On average, there are 49 ads each day. Ninja streams 6 days on average
- Each week = 300 ads * 4 weeks (month) = 1200 ads
Now for the fun stuff:
- 1200 ads * 150,000 viewers = 180 Million Ad Impressions! Let’s convert millions into thousands.
- 180 Million = 180,000 thousand! (confused…stay with me)
- Assume we have a CPM of $8 per thousand views. We multiple $8 by 180,000.
- ON PAPER, TOTAL AD REVENUE = $1,440,000
That makes sense in a perfect world. Time to give you the ACTUAL number.
The reality is, Ninja isn’t seeing that $1.4 million. The biggest reason is that not everyone is viewing ads. As a matter of fact, over 30% of users have some sort of ad-blocker.
On top of that, a sizable amount of Twitch viewers have a Twitch prime subscription. This means that they get Twitch ad-free for having an Amazon Prime subscription.
Considering Twitch’s target demographic (younger, tech savvy) hates ads, it’s pretty safe to assume that about 50% of ad impressions don’t actually occur.
So, instead of 180 million ad impressions. It’s more likely to be about 90 million ad impressions.
THE ACTUAL (ESTIMATED) AD REVENUE AMOUNT: $720K
I mentioned this before, but Twitch does get a cut of the ad revenue. Now, even though ad revenue comes from the Twitch platform, Ninja does see most of it.
I am not psychic so I can’t for sure say how much Ninja receives. But generally the bigger the streamer the bigger the cut. I’m going on a limb and saying that Ninja takes in about $7 per thousand ad views.
And now…we get the ACTUAL NUMBER.
Ninja’s Actual (Estimated) Monthly Ad Revenue = $630,000/month
TOTAL ESTIMATED REVENUE NINJA MAKES EACH MONTH BY STREAMING.
- Subscriptions = $1,077,680
- Donations = $41,000
- Ad Revenue = $630,000
- MONTHLY TOTAL = $1,748,680.
There you have it. I’m 99% sure this number is lowballed. I can go on all day about Ninja’s meteoric rise, but that’s probably better suited for another time. But it’s pretty likely that he’s here to stay for a while.