Twitch today announced a new affiliate program that will let pretty much interested streamer qualify to earn money as they play. Similar to YouTube’s Partner Program, Twitch’s new tier is meant to be available to any streamer who meets a baseline criteria involving hours streamed, average number of viewers, and channel follower count. Twitch hopes the program will expand the number of streamers on its platform who use streaming as a means to earn money and eventually even a make a living.
As to how the program fits in with its existing partnership program, which is what lets streamers offered subscriptions to their channels for monthly fees, Twitch sees it as a step on the way to becoming a partner, a process that is more intensive and involves and application review.
The program will start with what Twitch calls “Cheering with Bits,” which is a micropayments system that lets viewers buy a certain number of animated emoticons to use in a streamer’s chat window. Over time, the company plans to roll out more monetization options for those in the affiliate program, including subscriptions, ad revenue splits, and merchandizing tie-ins.