Online streaming has certainly grown significantly over the past 5 to 6 years. Twitch.TV, and a few others, have not only helped games reach bigger audiences, but also helped the casual and the pro-gamers earn a living. Through subscriptions, donations and just general advertising, playing video games for a living becomes very much a reality for the fortunate few.
On the forefront of this revolution has been the free streaming service, Twitch. Only released in 2011, it now boasts over 100 million unique visitors per month, with nearly 1.5 million broadcasters. Recently acquired by Amazon, this staggering rise to popularity epitomises how foundational this service has become. Not only that, it also shows just how much the gaming industry has developed into a professional scene.
So, this may seem like a golden ticket to a good life; you not only get to play the games you love but you also get to share your skill and prowess to the world, whilst hopefully making a good amount of money doing so. Though, it is not as simple as that, as a streamer, you need to sell yourself, you need to make sure you are not only providing good gameplay, but also offering good commentary and giving an overall entertaining stream. Because this is what the consumer wants: to be entertained.
For example, there is the American streamer of StarCraft 2 called Avilo, who is notoriously bad mannered during his stream, and is quick to display his unhappiness with the balance of the game. Yet, despite this, he draws in at least 600 to 1000 viewers at any one time.
Yet there are others, who probably provide better gameplay, but don't draw in anywhere near the amount of viewers. Why is this? Well, those who view his stream enjoy the pure entertainment Avilo provides. And this, in turn, means he is now earning more money than lesser streamers through his subscriptions or the vaster amount of donations he could receive during a streaming session.
There is still a lot of pressure on an established streamer to make sure their fan base has longevity. As I mentioned, subscriptions pay a big part in a streamers earnings. So the streamer needs to focus on making sure they keep them happy. The obvious way to do this is by making sure they are providing the same good quality streams which caused potential punters to subscribe originally, or they can offer little incentives and perks, such as emoticons, or replay packs once a week.
It's little things like these which will help streamers retain their subscribers, and ensure they don't lose that money which is vital to their livelihoods. Because not everyone is going to make it as a pro-gamer or a caster, but, that does not deny them a chance to make some kind of a living within the gaming industry.
Many successful streamers use structured schedules, social media streams and email lists to promote their Twitch channels as widely as possible. Many more donation services, streaming record tools and bot applications to ramp up their streams and revenues. Successful streamers, such as Winter (who promise a "no rage" Starcraft experience) email their subscribers to keep them up to date with their latest movements. Because they are taking on the role of an entertainer, they need to make sure they are giving the audience what they want. Because this could equate to losing subscribers and, as a streamer, losing your client-base could be devastating to their future. Lastly, to maintain their list and help entertaining your users, they have to be sure to make full use of tools to create contests, giveaways and monitor their chat for spam and song requests.
So making sure the streamer uses every tool at their disposal and, subsequently, making sure they keep their subscribers happy, is paramount to a successful career as a full-time streamer. As a streamer, being flexible and ready to adjust is so important. There are tools to help you work out the most active times of your viewership, how tuned in they are and how active they can be. And if you are using as many of these tools you can, you will be more than ready to adjust the content you are sending out, and hopefully, be streaming with a strong consistent viewer base for years to come.