Monetization Strategies for Singaporean Live Streamers

Twitch has created an easily accessible process where viewers (fans) can spend real money to support their streamer. This process is evident through bit cheering, donations, and subscriptions to the streamer themselves. However, platforms like YouTube and Facebook have systems that are not very supportive for content creators to earn revenue. This, however, will not be the main concentration. The main concentration will be the methodology and strategy for how live streamers in Singapore are able to earn revenue, sometimes in manners that are easy or hard to achieve, but hold a significant difference in terms of remuneration received.

Monetization has always been a sensitive topic, especially when it comes to content creators. Content needs to be created, shared, and distributed. It is this cycle that makes something viral, and through that process, creators need to be remunerated. For live streamers, remuneration can be easy or hard depending on the platform they utilize.

Advertising and Sponsorship Opportunities

With the proliferation of live streaming Singapore, platforms such as Twitch and Mirrativ have rolled out advertising services which reward partners and affiliates based on game sales and in-game items purchased via advertisement and a site-wide advertising revenue share. Twitch has an advertising revenue share model where partners and affiliates will receive a percentage of the ad revenue that is attributed to the actions of the viewers that click on the ad. Revenue which is earned from the ad displayed is split with the broadcaster 50/50. This encourages live streamers to run ads by providing a higher chance of ad revenue to the broadcaster as compared to the viewer. Both of the advertising models are to provide the live streamer a chance to earn an extra income as they share a portion of the revenue with the streamer in return for acting as a sales agent for a product. This is a good starting point for a beginner live streamer who does not have a large concurrent viewership and would like to earn a regular income from live streaming Singapore. However, it may not be the best method for a more popular live streamer as using an advertising revenue model may not provide a substantial income due to the large viewer base needed to be able to earn it. An alternative monetization strategy is to utilize the advertising services with the intention of funding an event or a project such as a show match, a tournament, or an episodic series. The revenue earned in this case can indirectly finance the project as the ad revenue is earned separate to the live streaming and can be accumulated over time. This allows a popular live streamer to preserve his current income and provide an extra source of revenue to fund a personal project, without disrupting the current means of income.

Subscription and Membership Models

Membership models are a paragon for community-based streamers. These models allow for a fan to interactively support a streamer by paying nominal fees for various levels of membership, each with its own set of benefits. Streamers can implement this by using Patreon, a membership platform that provides business tools for creators to run a subscription content service. With the Patreon platform, fans pay their favorite creators a monthly amount of their choice in exchange for exclusive access, extra content, or a closer look into their creative process. Membership models are effective as they are not as pressuring as subscriptions, and fans pay the nominal fee just to show their support for the creator.

There is a growing trend of the world moving towards subscription and membership models, and statistics have shown that these models are now increasingly more profitable than advertising. Subscription-based content allows for a more stable and predictable income to be garnered, while providing an incentive and tangible benefit to fans. For streamers who have already established a strong and loyal fanbase, a subscription model is a good way to get stable income from streaming. By enabling subscriptions on their channel, viewers can pay to access premium features of the streamer’s channel, and in return the streamer can provide incentives such as subscriber-only chats, emoticons, and badges to these subscribers. Subscription-based content also provides a sense of security to streamer as they are more guaranteed pay.

Merchandise and Brand Collaborations

As for brand collaboration, companies will typically approach live streamers if they feel that mutual benefits can be gained. Sponsorship is by far the easiest way to secure a collaboration; however, a meaningful and profitable sponsorship is extremely hard to come by. Sponsors are likely to only support live streamers who have a large viewer base and a good reputation. One example of sponsorship is an energy drink company providing a gamer with free product and payment in exchange for product placement and endorsements while streaming. Product placement is a non-intrusive and natural form of advertising that can be performed while streaming. It is to show or mention a product or brand with the intent of promoting. The advertisement is seen directly by the viewer and is of equal benefit to both the live streamer and the company. Other forms such as banner or video advertisements are generally a one-time deal and are less personal. There is only an obligation of payment and does not particularly benefit the viewer. A step up from product placement, at best, is a sponsorship deal as said before. It is often hard to come by for beginners, but if the opportunity arises, a long-term and exclusive deal can be highly profitable to the live streamer. An excellent example of such a deal is one between Razer and Snoopeh, a professional League of Legends player. The deal included a monthly salary and would require Snoopeh to exclusively use Razer products and provide feedback for product development. It is important to note that not all viewers will appreciate brand collaboration. Viewer feedback should be observed to ensure that it does not impact the viewing experience. Consideration should be taken as to whether profits are worth potentially detrimenting viewer relationships. As a whole, brand collaboration can be a very profitable venture but requires live streamer suitability and viewer reinforcement.

Once a live streamer has a substantial amount of active viewers and a popular image, they can begin to develop and sell merchandise relevant to their channel. An example would be a gamer who primarily streams first-person shooters. They would look to produce merchandise such as t-shirts, hoodies, and hats with imagery and catchphrases catering to their channel and favorite games. In order to sell the merchandise, they have the option to utilize crowdfunding, e-commerce websites, and pre-orders. The most convenient outlet is crowdfunding as the production of the merchandise is paid by the viewers, thus reducing the potential for profits turning into a loss. If the live streamer does not want to invest potential earnings into merchandise production, they may look to use pod services (e.g., Teespring) as it incurs no production cost. One potential downfall of merchandise production is the time and effort required to design and manage sales of products. It is important that the live streamer does not let merchandise sales take away time from streaming as this may cause a loss of viewer interest. Overall, merchandise production is a profitable long-term strategy for seasoned live streamers.

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