Guitarist Willy de Moya was going to play one last song, from his home. He looked at the computer screen and saw that there were 15 people watching him live: “We are 15, I’m freaking out,” he said. De Moya has been on Twitch for less than a month, the Amazon platform that allows direct broadcasts and has exploded in Spain and in Spanish a year ago with the confinement. Twitch is humanity’s great window into the rooms of at least 7 million people, according to the company’s global figures.
The life of De Moya, 29, changed a year ago: a tour of China with his group and the face-to-face classes he gave to about 35 students were canceled. He opened a YouTube channel, put ads on Google and now teaches Zoom: “I bought a sound card, microphones, two monitors,” he says. The last stage of his journey has been to open a Twitch. At the moment he has no regrets: in a few weeks he has 200 subscribers and begins to deposit money. On YouTube in a year I had 90 and no income. On his channel the content varies: he plays live topics that are asked of him in the chat, records a masterclass pentatonic scales or reminds of some mythical guitarist.
The explosion of Twitch in the last year in Spain has led it to be the eighth most visited page, according to the classification of Alexa, another Amazon company. In Google searches it has been put at the level of Wikipedia, where you can see the jump of mid-March 2020, at the beginning of the confinement. The youtubers turned into streamers [stream es el directo en internet, lo que da el nombre a sus creadores] They have made headlines, but behind them is an army of content creators trying to turn their passion, way of life or profession into money.
most of streamers on Twitch he does it for testing or fun. Last Tuesday at 5 in the afternoon, EL PAÍS counted 882 channels in Spanish with 0 or 1 viewers. (Twitch refuses to give figures for Spain.) Most of them were people playing a video game, without much pretense. There were at least three children, something that Twitch does not allow. The company does not clarify how it finds these accounts to delete them if there is no prior complaint.
It may seem easy to find an audience on the internet. There are so many millions of people connected. But gathering a handful on a channel is just as difficult as attracting people to a book launch. On Twitch they know this and their threshold to start monetizing a channel is only three viewers on average for at least eight hours. From there Twitch allows you to charge for new subscribers and other forms of income. He calls those creators “affiliates.” Above are the partners: Starting at 75 viewers on average for 12 days, Twitch offers a better options agreement and more options for the channel to be seen. Getting there however is a long and hard battle. In 2020, 8,550 people worldwide became partners and 548,000 became affiliates, according to the company.
Lia2tv are a couple from Barcelona who love video games. They have been performing live as a couple since January 2020, with a constant schedule of five days plus one morning on the weekend. Around 20-30 spectators: “Having over 15 spectators is a miracle. Those who have hundreds can already be told: congratulations, you’ve done it, ”says Lons, 37, the nickname of one of the two Lia2tv members. Growth is a long and hard endeavor: “If someone wants to try the streaming let him do it out of passion, ”says Noor, 28, the other Lia2tv member. But if you want to do it as a profession, don’t do it because mentally it is devastating. You are not going to earn money from one month to the next, ”he adds.
YouTube is still the main platform for videos. It also makes direct. But Twitch has a different character. The general dynamics of the platform and chat allow a more direct connection with the creators. The main activity of many streamers is reading and reacting to what viewers are saying in live chat.
This is how Lorena, 32, a veterinary technician from Barcelona, grew her channel. When he went to live in Italy four and a half years ago, he created Mickanplays: “I needed to keep socializing. Show people my hobbies and meeting place to be part of the community and talk about everything, ”he says. His only previous networking experience was a YouTube channel where he played the piano. But he hardly had a community. On Twitch in 2018, she was a trailblazer. Lorena basically reads what comes out in the chat and comments on it: what did you have for breakfast or which 90’s movie is your favorite. In the afternoon he usually plays a video game, with nothing fixed. His proposal is clear: no bad vibes. “I make it clear that I don’t want to get into controversial or personal issues. It is a meeting between friends, no sauce, suitable for the whole family. Live and let live. If they ask me what I think of another person, I don’t think ”, he explains.
“It has been the constancy, being there every day,” he says. “I am from Monday to Sunday, but from time to time I need a day off, every two weeks I take a day. Some days I do 6-7 hours; others, 8; others, 5. I usually start at 12.00 and I am until 19.00. It is very enjoyable, ”he adds. Lorena does not want to give income figures, but she is freelance and lives on Twitch. Followers of a channel can subscribe at various rates. It is a way to support your favorite creators. The company gives a part of this income to streamer. In addition to ads, there are other monetization formats, apart from what each one gets in the form of sponsorships.
Anniel, 27, from Valencia, also wanted to keep in touch with her friends when she left for Erasmus in Finland seven years ago. He opened a YouTube channel. She kept it around, but one day they recognized her in a bar and closed it. With the confinement and the torn meniscus, he was encouraged to return to the screens on Twitch with Anniel Official in July 2020: “I have entered this as a hobby, which I can share with people,” he says. Talk and play. “I’ve been holding a console in my hands since I was seven years old.” He studied Fine Arts and was now dedicated to music festivals. As there is no follow with the direct ones to see his community grows. At the moment it is difficult for him to reach 20 on average.
His interest has led him to catalog various groups of streamers of videogames: “The scandalous, who lives it and starts screaming, like me; the competitive, who concentrates and only dedicates himself to a game; the quiet, who has forgotten that he is; the multifunctional multifunctional, who is very loose, charismatic, and the crybaby, who does it only for money and gets frustrated at not getting a subscription ”.
Video games are just one part of Twitch. There are streamers that retransmit how they distribute food in Madrid or their trips by truck through the Peninsula. Others even teach how they study oppositions: “The people who look at me do the same as me,” says Isabel, an opposition member in Bilbao, and author of the Justioposition channel. “It forces me. Do you know the people who run marathons who say that that day as there are people watching they give it their all? The same thing happens here. Since they are watching you, you are less distracted. It forces you not to raise your head ”, he adds.
Isabel has an Instagram channel where she tells of her student adventures. With the confinement, he could no longer go to the library. Then he signed on to a Korean site that created virtual “study rooms.” When that page crashed, he created his Twitch – there he sits for hours and hours in silence, with his arsenal of colored highlighters, lectern, and notes. The most extraordinary thing is that there are 100 people on average looking at it. Although Isabel hardly values it: “I’m ignorant of all this Twitch,” she says.
Training and political gathering are other content on the rise on Twitch. Álvaro García, 29, is a telecommunications engineer who moved to Japan three years ago. His income rose to more than 3,000 euros a month and, since he led a “frugal life”, he began to save. He learned personal finance to see what he would do with money. His Twitter account where he explained the Japanese adventure went on to mention his new concern. One day I would videoconference with friends to explain the Stock Market. One day he realized that this was more interesting than it seemed and today he is 12 hours across five days a week on his Twitch channel speaking to an average of 55 people. “People agree that there is not a lot of financial education,” he says. “I’ve been researching and Twitch is a lot more profitable for smaller people,” he adds. The bulk of their community is made up of thirty-somethings.
There is a certain consensus that Twitch offers a more direct path to some form of income, which does not guarantee much: “It is much easier to live on Twitch than on YouTube. On YouTube you have to be years to see your first few. On Twitch in a few months you start charging € 100 a month to scale, ”says Zroly, author of the channel focused on games with his name.
Sergio V., 21 years old and a Political Science student, is the creator of Political Philosophy, a liberal channel. Sergio has accounts with thousands of followers on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. The move to Twitch has been easier for him, but he still has to become a partner: “The potential on Twitch is to comment on all kinds of news. We can criticize feminism without having monetization taken away from us. We can see content with copyright from the television. At the moment on Twitch they don’t knock you down on the channel, ”he explains. Sergio sees Twitch as a growing platform, where even more things are possible, which gives a special freedom: “It’s more than being at home. On YouTube you have it already prepared. Twitch, with chat, is more coral. And we don’t feel observed, ”he says. YouTube has very specific guidelines for tacos that restrict the option of monetizing a video with ads, for example. YouTube has a very specific rating. The words bastard, shit or asshole are “moderate foul language” and cock or son of a bitch “are” strong foul language.
They are all different but common ways: make yourself known to get more income by telling things live. This does not imply that talent is not necessary. Whoever sees Ibai, Rubius or Grefg can see that talking and talking is not so simple: “I flipped how interesting people can be talking about nothing,” says Alejandro de Miguel, a musician who has created his Aledemiguel channel. In it he spends four hours a day with the keyboard and bass. “But why are people seeing this guy talking out of nowhere? And people say it’s super easy. No. It is extremely difficult to generate content from scratch, ”he explains.
It is not the only challenge that De Miguel sees in his new adventure, which he took after running out of concerts with the pandemic: “It’s hard on a mental level because I know I have to put on four hours even though I know it’s going to be shit because it’s a bad day . My Thursdays are bad. Now I try the afternoon schedule and people know you less. It is a constant struggle, ”he says.
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