The Twitch Affiliate Contract

4 minute read

This article refers to the 10/07/2019 version of the Twitch affiliate agreement. It is informational in nature, and provides a general overview of contract law terminology. It not intended to replace a personal review with an attorney, nor is it intended to be an official interpretation of the agreement.

The Twitch affiliate program allows you to begin monetizing your streams with on-site tools, including subscriptions, cheers/bits, and advertisements. You can also offer subscribers unlockable emotes and chat badges.

Before gaining access to that, however, you must agree to the Twitch Affiliate Agreement, a legally binding contract whose terms you are promising to follow. You should read it thoroughly, and possibly with the assistance of an attorney if you have any questions or concerns.

This article will not look at every component of the agreement, but will highlight some of the more interesting provisions and provide general information about what the legal terminology means and how it works.

Content Exclusivity

Multistreaming — or sending one broadcast to multiple platforms, like Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook, simultaneously — can be a way to find an initial audience. Although it may fragment your chat, you may find that your content resonates better on one platform than another.

However, once you have signed the affiliate agreement, you can no longer multistream your Twitch content. You may, however, end your Twitch broadcast and start a separate broadcast on another platform. You may also upload a full VOD or edited highlights to another platform 24 hours after you finish your stream.

Only the specific content you stream to Twitch is exclusive to Twitch. You can still make as much other content as you like for other platforms without triggering the exclusivity clause.

Your Brand/Likeness

The Twitch affiliate program does not give Twitch ownership or control of your brand or likeness, despite some sources that claim otherwise.

The Twitch Terms of Service do discuss a license to your likeness — meaning the terms apply to all broadcasters, not just Affiliates — but only in the context of the content you broadcast to Twitch:

If you submit […] User Content using the Twitch Services, you grant Twitch [a right to] use the name, identity, likeness, and voice (or other biographical information) that you submit in connection with such User Content.

Revenue

Accepting the Twitch affiliate agreement unlocks several different monetization options, which will all automatically become a part of your channel. You cannot take parts of the monetization or benefits without taking others.

Subscriptions

Subscription prices vary between markets, but the base rate in the United States is $4.99. Twitch and affiliated broadcasters split this amount 50/50, however, you will generally not split the full amount. Billing and payment costs, and any relevant taxes, like sales tax and VAT, are subtracted from this number before your split.

This is why you may see earnings per subscription around $2.20, and sometimes down to $1.00 or lower — every location has different fees. Pricing may even vary between desktop and mobile users.

Bits/Cheering

Broadcasters receive 1 cent per bit cheered ($1 per 100 bits cheered), and a portion of bits used by viewers to power interactive extensions the broadcaster has activated.

Twitch provides an additional Bits Acceptable Use Policy that Affiliates must also follow. Broadcasters, for instance, cannot offer items like a hoodie, or services like graphic design in exchange for bits. Running afoul of these rules may result in Twitch suspending payment, so broadcasters should familiarize themselves with the rules before signing a contract agreeing to follow them.

Advertisements

Twitch will automatically run pre-roll ads for incoming viewers to Partner and Affiliate channels, for which the broadcaster receives revenue.

The streamer may additionally run manual ads, which may optionally disable pre-roll ads for a period of time. This is currently the only way to stop delivery of pre-roll ads for non-subscribed viewers.

Channel owners additionally have the option to disable all advertising for subscribed viewers.

Payment Times

If, at the end of a calendar month, you have accumulated at least $100 — which includes your earnings in all previous unpaid months — the full unpaid balance of your account will be paid 45 days after the end of that month.

For instance, if you earn $40 in January, and $20 in February (total $60), and $30 in March (total $90), and $40 in April (total $130), because you reached at least $100 at the end of April, you will receive the full $130 45 days after the end of April — around June 15.

Taxes

You are responsible for paying income taxes on your Twitch income, even on small amounts. More detailed information about how Twitch taxes work is also available.

No Negotiation

Although top-tier and VIP Twitch partners are able to negotiate their contract, affiliates are generally not able to, and must accept the agreement as-is.

If there are any terms you find objectionable in the agreement or the Terms of Service, and you would prefer not to be legally bound by them, you do not have to become an affiliate. Though you will not receive the benefits of affiliation, it is unwise to sign a contract you don’t want to follow.

Termination

If there has been no activity on your account for 12 months and there is unpaid revenue in your account, Twitch may terminate your agreement and pay out the remaining funds minus an up to $25 maintenance fee.

If you choose to terminate your own account, Twitch reserves the right to leave the remaining balance under the payment threshold of $100 unpaid:

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