Have You Ever Wondered

How Much Does Streamer ‘Ninja’ Make In A Month?

Joey Montano
Jun 29, 2018 · 9 min read
Meet Twitch’s biggest star, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins.

I love Twitch. I’ve been fascinated with the company as a whole during their Justin.tv days. Since they officially launched as “Twitch” back in 2011, I have religiously followed their company and pretty much streaming in general.

There have been some streamers that have made a significant living simply by streaming their favorite video games. Top streamers often get 10 thousand to 40 thousand viewers at any given moment.

But today, I want to talk about the Twitch’s biggest streamer to date: Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins. More specifically, I want to break down how much Ninja makes each month by streaming Fortnite on Twitch.

Here’ a TL:DR version:

  • Estimated $1,750,000 million each month (at the minimum).
  • Biggest sources of income are Twitch subscriptions and ad revenue.
  • Only streaming, not including sponsorships/partnerships/YouTube/merchandise.

Edit: Since this article has been posted back in 2018, it’s been shared quite frequently which I think is kinda cool. But along that comes thousands of Curious Cathies looking for an accurate answer. I wrote this back in 2018 and the landscape has changed over the last year, I’ll be adding my latest estimates at the end of the article and updating it every 3–6 months. Updated on May 24, 2019


Even though he confirmed making $500,000/month back in March 2018 during his meteoric rise to #1 on Twitch, I came to the conclusion that Ninja makes significantly more than the initial projection. Because Ninja partakes in gaming events, gets paid sponsorships, and sells merchandise, his actual revenues would rake him millions each month. I don’t want to figure those numbers out. He streams for a living and I only want to focus on that aspect alone.

I’m going to also exclude sponsorship & YouTube revenue as those can be their own topics of discussion.


The Breakdown

There are 3 major buckets that most Twitch streamers are able to drive revenue.

  1. Twitch Subscriptions
  2. Donations
  3. Ad Revenue

There might be some other ways Ninja makes money such as merchandise and partnerships, but I want to stick with streaming all by itself.

Money Made From Twitch Subscriptions

Ninja has done an incredible job of keeping his momentum on Twitch ever since he streamed with Drake back in March. Pulling data from twitchstats.net, Ninja has averaged over 200,000 paid Twitch subscriptions in the last 4 months.

Considering that the lowest subscription amount is $4.99/month. You would think that paid subs alone would make Ninja a millionaire right out of the gate. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case here.

On Average: out of the $4.99 that is paid for by a subscriber, usually a streamer only gets about half, or about $2.50.

Similar to Youtube, Twitch does provide medium-sized and top streamers a bigger cut based on their ability to bring in viewers (also to prevent competitive streaming sites from stealing top stars).

Realistically, someone of Ninja’s streaming caliber should be able to keep at least 80% of subscriber revenue. This means that he keeps about $4 per every sub.

This is not including premium subs. For those of you who don’t know, there are sub tiers that vary in price, $4.99 (or Twitch Prime, which is equivalent to the lowest tier), $9.99, and $24.99. I don’t think I’m being unreasonable to assume the following.

  • 80% of Ninja’s subscribers are in the $4.99 tier
  • 15% are in the $9.99 tier
  • 5% are in the $24.99 tier

Breaking down the numbers we get these amounts.

  • Tier 1 -> 160,000 Subs * $4.99 = $798,400
  • Tier 2 -> 30,000 Subs * $9.99 = $299,700
  • Tier 3-> 10,000 Subs * $24.99 = $249,000
  • Total Before Twitch’s Cut = $1,347,100 (Ninja keeps 80%)

Ninja’s Revenue After Twitch’s Cut = $1,077,680

It’s possible I over estimated with tier three subscribers, but he’s still making a cool million each month on subs alone. It also is possible that Ninja gets 90–95% of all subscriber money instead of the 80%.

Updated May 2019: From Feb-May 2019 Ninja has averaged about 22K subs. 5% are tier 2 subs and 3% are tier 3 subs (source: twitchtracker.com). Assuming those numbers we get roughly $101,200 + $11,000 + $16,500 = $128,700 * 0.8 (his cut) = $102,960. This makes sense, his new subscriber count is about one-tenth of the year prior.


Money Made From Donations

Outside of subscriptions, donations are another way for a streamer to make revenue. There are two types of donations that are used on Twitch.

  1. Standard Donations — This usually is a link to a PayPal page or a link to a streaming software service (streamlabs) that keeps track of donations.
  2. Twitch Cheers /Bits— This is where users can spend money on Twitch currency (bits), then use that currency to directly donate to a streamer.

I separated these two types of donations because with standard donations, they often come with some fees and keeping track of donations varies on the software. As for Twitch Bits, 1 bit = 1 cent.

Standard Donations

Considering that the month of June is almost completed, these “monthly” amounts should be fairly accurate.

On the top 10 alone for standard donations, it totals $6,000. Based on how consistent the bottom 5 amounts are, I am guesstimating that there are several other dozen donations around $100–$300 mark, and the hundreds of donations that are below $100.

Keeping that in mind, I estimate about $25,000 is being donated via standard donations each month (although I think I’m low-balling).

Twitch Cheers

Twitch cheers/bits are a bit easier to track but require some more math. Remember, 1 bit = 1 cent.

Just in the last 5 Days — Ninja’s “Bits” Donations

Look above, this is just the last 5 days. The top ‘cheer’ was 35,000 bits. Which is $350 in donations to Ninja.

The top ten total bits is equal to $1,335 (likely to move up to about $1,600 after 7 days). Now, comparing standard donations to Twitch Cheers:

  • It seems that standard donations used more frequently than Twitch Cheers
  • The average amount of standard donations tend to be higher compared to Twitch Cheers.

Even though the top 10 averages about $1,600 a week, all of the other bit totals outside of the top 10 will likely total about $4,000/week (including top 10).

Total amount earned my Twitch cheers/bits = $16,000/month

Total Donation Amount = $41,000/month

I’m pretty sure 99% of streamers would love to make that in a year. I’m very confident that this amount is still on the ‘low-end’. While Ninja rakes in a one million each month on subscriber money alone, $41,000/month is nothing to sneeze at.

NOTE: This is only an average. It’s been on record that people donate $10K+ to him directly.

Updated May 2019: From comparing the screenshots to updated data shown on streamlabs and on his stream, most of these amounts donated have been cut in half. Despite losing 1/10th of his subscribers, I’d still estimate his total monthly donation amount is worth $21,000.


Money Made From Ad Revenue

This one is probably the biggest wildcard as there a lot of different factors that come into play. It doesn’t help that all Twitch Partners are under contract to not discuss revenue or specifics.

Now, I haven’t heard anything regarding ad rates so I’m assuming video ads are being paid on a Cost Per Thousand (CPM) view basis. I’m also going to assume that the rates are comparable to Youtube and other video networks.

Normally CPMs vary between $2-$8+ on twitch. This means that for every 1000 viewers watching an ad, Twitch receives X amount. Since Ninja is primarily in tech/gaming, it’s very likely that the CPM is about $8–$10. For the sake of low-balling, I’m going to say it’s about $8 per thousand views.

On any given day Ninja averages between 125K-250K concurrent viewers (people watching live). Even as I write this post he’s got 225K viewers.

Let’s assume he has 150,000 viewers throughout his stream and crunch the numbers.

  • There is a 15 or 30 second ad at the beginning of the stream when you first hop onto his stream.
  • There is another 1–2 ads that show in between Fornite games.
  • Considering Ninja is one of the best Fortnite players, he can probably play about 3–5 games an hour.
  • Even though Ninja streams twice a day (morning/evening), he averages about 8 hours a day minimum.

Time for maths! (for the sake of simplicity, I’ll only count total ads over the stream)

  • 1 Ad Beginning of the stream
  • 6 ads hourly (average of 1.5 ads per 4 games)
  • 6 ads * 8 hours a day = 48 ads
  • On average, there are 49 ads each day. Ninja streams 6 days on average
  • Each week = 300 ads * 4 weeks (month) = 1200 ads

Now for the fun stuff:

  • 1200 ads * 150,000 viewers = 180 Million Ad impressions! Let’s convert millions into thousands.
  • 180 Million = 180,000 thousand! (confused…stay with me)
  • Assume we have a CPM of $8 per thousand views. We multiple $8 by 180,000.
  • ON PAPER, TOTAL AD REVENUE = $1,440,000

That makes sense in a perfect world. Time to give you the ACTUAL number.

The reality is, Ninja isn’t seeing that $1.4 million. The biggest reason is that not everyone is viewing ads. As a matter of fact, over 30% of users have some sort of ad-blocker.

On top of that, a sizable amount of Twitch viewers have a Twitch prime subscription. This means that they get Twitch ad-free for having an Amazon Prime subscription.

Considering Twitch’s target demographic (younger, tech savy) hates ads, it’s pretty safe to assume that about 50% of ad impressions don’t actually occur.

So, instead of 180 million ad impressions. It’s more likely to be about 90 million ad impressions.

THE ACTUAL (ESTIMATED) AD REVENUE AMOUNT: $720K

I mentioned this before, but Twitch does get a cut of the ad revenue. Now, even though ad revenue comes from the Twitch platform, Ninja does see most of it.

I am not psychic so I can’t for sure say how much Ninja receives. But generally the bigger the streamer the bigger the cut. I’m going on a limb and saying that Ninja takes in about $7 per thousand ad views.

And now…we get the ACTUAL NUMBER.

Ninja’s Actual (Estimated) Monthly Ad Revenue = $630,000/month

Updated May 2019. Pulling my data from TwitchTracker(thanks again) we can run updated calculations on the last 90 days for a baseline.

Roughly estimating, over 3 months he’s logged 205 streaming hours monthly. With the average count of 39,273 viewers, we about 8.05 million watched. Using the same calculations as the first example we get a new updated amount of…$193,223 in monthly ad revenue.

TOTAL ESTIMATED REVENUE NINJA MAKES EACH MONTH BY STREAMING.

Finally…

  • Subscriptions = $1,077,680
  • Donations = $41,000
  • Ad Revenue = $630,000

MONTHLY TOTAL = $1,748,680 (May 2018)

There you have it. I’m 99% sure this number is lowballed. I can go on all day about Ninja’s meteoric rise, but that’s probably better suited for another time. But it’s pretty likely that he’s here to stay for a while.


UPDATE (May 2019): It’s been about one year since I’ve initially written this piece. It continues to get traffic and I’m sure some of you are eager to see if Ninja still makes over a million dollars each month. From merch and other non-streaming avenues he does.

But on a streamer level in 2019, I’ve updated my calculations and crunched the numbers — My new estimates for May 2019.

Subscriptions = $102,960
Donations = $21,000
Ad Revenue =$193,223

New Monthly Total = $317,183

It did seem like a given he was raking over a million dollars during his initial rise. While he is still a twitch icon, he still does very well as a pure streamer. These are all estimates and should only be taken for entertainment purposes.

I do plan to talk a lot more about offbeat items in the near future so if you did find this article interesting, follow me here or on Twitter. It lets me know that you found what I wrote to be worth your while. I’m also a bit corny. Sorry corn.

Joey Montano

Written by

Founder | Digital Consultant | Thought Nomad. I like to talk about off-beat topics related to gaming, marketing, streaming, and career development.

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