Only Three Percent Of Twitch’s Top-Earning Streamers Are Women, Apparently

Only Three Percent Of Twitch’s Top-Earning Streamers Are Women, Apparently
Image: Twitch / Kotaku / Bertrand Langlois, Getty Images

The Twitch leak from 4chan confirmed what a lot of people already know: The majority of the platform’s most successful content creators are men. But what’s shocking is the disparity. Out of the top 100 creators, only three of them are women. Only one of them is a woman of colour.

This morning, an anonymous hacker leaked a massive 125GB archive purportedly filled with source code for Twitch’s website and services, its client apps for various consoles, its Amazon cloud-based services, various proprietary SDKs, other services Twitch owns, tools used by its security operations centre, and even for an “unreleased Steam competitor from Amazon Game Studios.” Among all the source code there’s seemingly also information about the income of certain individual streamers. Twitch confirmed the validity of this leak a few hours ago.

One unverified list of Twitch payouts, screenshotted by a Twitter user, seems to show how much income the site’s top 100 streamers have earned since October 2019. According to the figures, Twitch’s top-earning streamers are overwhelmingly male. The top spot is occupied by a tabletop role-playing collective with around $US9.6M in income, followed by a male Overwatch streamer at around $US8.4M. These supposed figures do not account for sponsorships and other methods through which streamers typically earn revenue.

But the highest-ranking female streamers are far further down the list, starting with Valorant streamer Pokimane at 39th place, cosplayer Amouranth at 48th, and music streamer Sintica at 71st. Excluding streams that are run by multiple people (such as Critical Role), there are no women in the top third of top-earning Twitch content creators. In spite of the complaints about the “hot tub meta,” “titty streamers,” and how some male streamers perceive that female streamers are stealing views from men, the numbers show that only a small percentage of women are among the ranks of Twitch’s highest-earning content creators.

Mind, the millions that these top streamers rake in is still a lot of money. But the large disparity between the ratio of high-earning male streamers to female streamers stands as further proof that Twitch has not done enough to support women and other marginalised streamers on its platform.

Many women who stream on Twitch are also marginalised on the basis of race and sexual orientation. Pokimane is the only woman of colour who made the top earner list. Many smaller streamers struggle with staying safe on the platform. While Twitch rolled out identity-based tags this May to help with discoverability, it didn’t solve the toxicity against marginalised streamers on the platform.

This August, there was an influx of hate raids against queer streamers and streamers of colour. Several streamers participated in a Twitch boycott under the #TwitchDoBetter hashtag to protest these hate raids.

The reputed lack of women and PoC among Twitch’s top earners comes as no surprise to Vanessa Brasfield, a Black Twitch streamer known as PleasantlyTwstd. She tweeted:

All that energy we spend pissing and crying about how women were “making a dangerous precedent” amidst incels shouting “titty streamers” and they’re not even in the same grouping for payouts. Find the Black person on [the top earners list] while you’re at it.

 

Comments

  • So whats the actual takeaway from this? That despite all the sound and fury viewers just aren’t interested in female streamers or the content that they provide?

    You could argue its a counter to the hot tub meta. Since its folks doing actual interesting things like… tabletop roleplaying, rather than monetizing their bodies, that they bring in a wider audience?

    • That’s… really not what the article says.

      There’s a couple of takeaways, the key one being “Twitch has not done enough to support women and other marginalised streamers on its platform.” Another is that the incelly whining about ‘titty streamers’ stealing attention from the ‘legitimate’ male streamers was unfounded.

      It’s not that the male streamers are inherently superior to the majority of female streamers, it’s that the platform – and the broader culture surrounding it – is hostile to its female participants. The pay disparity is just a symptom.

      • “Twitch has not done enough to support women and other marginalised streamers on its platform.”

        People watch what they want to watch, You cannot force people to watch someone because you believe they are more entitled to views and subs.

        • Straw-man. Nobody’s suggesting forcing viewers to do anything.

          The article is pointing out further evidence that Twitch is failing its female streamers. No solution is being suggested here.

          • Twitch already does promote women, it’s just that on the whole you can only have so much sexually suggestive content before it gets boring and repetitive. No to mention that Pornhub is the outright better service for wanking unless you’re a sad person pretending that the streamer is your girlfriend. If more women want the top spot, then they need to compete content wise with the top earning men.

  • Given that they yield similar numbers of viewers one might consider the reason why hot tub streamers are earning a fraction of the other content creators might be due to the relative average age of their viewers and their access to credit cards… which, given that the minimum age for a twitch membership is 13 years old – makes me wonder about the appropriateness of suggestively licking a microphone in a skimpy bikini in a hot tub for that kind of demographic

    • “suggestively licking a microphone in a skimpy bikini in a hot tub”

      Um, hello?

      Around here we call that “cosplay”!

  • How many men are in the top 100 if we’re not counting groups or teams?

    What percentage of streamers are women/POC overall?

    What is the cutoff earnings for top 100? Maybe there’s thousands of these “Titty Streamers” as you call them making comfortable livings outside the top 100?

    This article seems to be cherry picking stats left, right and centre.

  • Not sure I’m ready to pass judgement when Twitch is the ultimate of democracy’s, with the user having a direct relationship to the streamer.

    One could argue I guess algorithm, but I just can’t see some Orwellian plot on Twitch’s behalf to promote male streamers.

    So the reality likely is that a predominately male viewer base on Twitch prioritses content from men.

    • Well it is sort of a democracy considering people are literally voting with their wallet and viewing time.

      That said it’s also a dictatorship where Twitch makes all the rules, and decides who they put on a pedestal… and who they knock down.

  • Some analysis of what is up there could also add some more detail to this
    like is the top comprised of mmos, or fps, or IRL or whatever.
    You’ve mentioned that this doesnt include sponsorships,
    so, does that mean its just ad revenue or is there more to it (or less) than that?
    also as someone who only watchs like 1 or 2 streams on twitch every now and then. is revenue mainly from ads? or subscriptions or 3rd party stuff like paypal/pateron etc.

    • Yeah, it’s just the gross payouts from Twitch direct. What streamers build using that platform (like Ninja etc. who got $$$ from EA for playing Apex Legends in that first week) isn’t counted.

  • They’d absolutely be catering to their users viewing trends as that is where the money is for them. If you don’t happen to be in the category of where said money can be found, that’s bad luck plain and simple.

    It’s sure as shit not some conspiracy to keep women and people of colour down, and it is lunacy to think otherwise. Twitch and platforms like it are simply not responsible for X streamer/s not being more famous/popular.

    Stop trying to push this weird fucking excuse for people that they’re not more famous/popular/whatever because Twitch isn’t doing enough to force users to like them or some nonsense. It’s not the reality of things and never has been.

  • I think a large portion of IRL female streamers’ income come from external donations like through StreamLab as (and this is purely assumption) the vast majority of twitch payments would be from subs and bits.

  • “But the large disparity between the ratio of high-earning male streamers to female streamers stands as further proof that Twitch has not done enough to support women and other marginalised streamers on its platform.”

    LOL

    Ah yes, that’s clearly what this data shows….

  • What exactly is the author asking for here? There is no pay disparity. People sub and view who they want to sub and view to. It is entirely out of Twitch’s control who people sub to. You are not entitled to someone sub based on your gender or identity. These numbers dont take into account external revenue, Something which the female streamers are very good at.

    This article is asking for things that cannot happen. Your Gender, identity or race does not entitle you to viewers, subs or revenue.

    Get back to reality.

  • You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.
    Similarly, Twitch could promote marginalised creators, but it don’t mean they’d shoot up to the top 100.
    Part of success is success itself. Remember bash.org? There’s a reason the top quotes on that site have hundreds and thousands more votes than the next standard deviation, and that’s because people tend to look at the highest ranked quotes because if they’re the highest, they gotta be the best, right? And then they’re gonna get more votes, because they’re seen more…
    I think this sort of thing applies to Twitch too. Another example is when it’s time for twitch drops, if you go to [game category] it’s usually listed in order of viewers, and unless you’re going to go out of your way to give some lowbie an extra view for 20 minutes while you wait for your free item, you’re probably gonna click one of the first row.

    So I don’t think Twitch needs to go out of its way to promote marginalised this or POC that, only because it doesn’t do the same to non-marginalised and non-POC. It only promotes the people with the most viewers.

    I’d be interested in some other statistics. What percentage of the top 100 is POC males? That one is strangely omitted from this article. What percentage of the bottom 100, 1000, 10000 make up the same groups? Do the top 100 reflect the lower 100/0/0?

  • “These supposed figures do not account for sponsorships and other methods through which streamers typically earn revenue.”

    Well, there you have it. You said it yourself, alongside sponsorships, most people are donating via services like streamlabs and similar alternatives to get whatever random message they want to be read aloud by their streamer of choice, besides just directly donating to the streamer.

  • Funny.. because this is the equivalent of saying YT is much better for promoting females because the top Superchat earners are all female vtubers…..

    Yet somehow I dont think ppl will be rushing to put youtube up as a paragon for “equality”

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!