We live in a world of celebrity. We’re constantly obsessed with famous faces’ Twitter feeds, and one step out in public with their hair out of place and it makes the front pages.
Celebs are trolled, campaigns and protests about who the next presenter of Top Gear should be are rife, and one slip up from a news anchor and they’re making their own news.
However, on the flip side, technology and the internet have created a new wave of broadcasting, from Netflix, to Periscope, to Twitch - the latest gaming phenomenon.
The rise in technology is creating a wave of new age broadcasting, with internet broadcasters becoming well-known faces and gathering quite the following. And essentially all from nothing. A new age presenter, presenting from their home.
But not only are they doing it, they’re making a living from it too.
If you look at the facts though, it’s hardly surprising. Twitch – which was bought out by Amazon for a staggering $1 billion (£638 million) recently – is now the fourth highest trafficking site online during peak hours which has meant streamers are getting thousands upon thousands of views regularly.
Of course this is only in the gaming community, although it is one of the largest communities out there.
How Do They Make Their Money?
All that is well and good, having thousands of viewers, but how do they make money? That’s the question you’re probably asking us right now.
Well, Twitch offers a partnership programme in which streamers who have an average viewership of over 500 and stream at least three times a week can become partners of the brand, meaning you can get subscribers, whom are charged $5 per month.
That’s in addition to rates on adverts and can make players a nice purse depending on how many hours they play and how many people subscribe. For major streamers, such as Steven Bonnell who is a big name when it comes to StarCraft, they can make around $5,000 (£3,200) from subscribers alone, with around $1,000 (£640) coming from advertising.
However it isn’t just Twitch where you can make money. The growth in technology has meant that online casinos can expand their offerings into the streaming world, which has created a new range of jobs in the live casino sector. Naturally we all know what a croupier is (we’ve seen enough Bond films to know that whether we enjoy a round of blackjack and poker or not), but we’re seeing a large rise in the number of live online casinos on offer now, and the job of online croupier has started to become reality.
PokerStars Casino is one of the latest brands to contribute to the rise of live games and have their own studio in Riga, where nine live tables are beamed onto our screens from. We certainly couldn’t have expected that a decade ago, and shows just how far technology has come to: an age where we can stream engaging and interactive video from our computers and mobiles.
It also means that you don’t have to flock to Las Vegas or Macau to be a glamorous croupier, with the ability to chat, deal, and most importantly, get paid whilst being broadcast to players around the world.
It seems today, putting yourself in front of the camera couldn’t be easier.
Whilst Twitch and Live Casino may, for the most part, be viewed on desktop, mobile broadcasting also has its ways of making money.
Meerkat and Periscope are two of the hottest new apps right now, streaming video live and encouraging users to engage with it.
Both in their infancy, Meerkat has seen a large number of people start to make money from it in a variety of ways. Whilst Meerkat itself isn’t particularly interested in monetising the app, users themselves are managing to do just that.
Most notably this is through tips. If you have a skill or a talent that’s worth entertaining the world with, you can create a $cashtag with Square’s Cash app and earn tips for your performances.
It’s essentially online busking, but with most people’s heads diverted into their phones nowadays, you’re much likely to get noticed. It can transform street-entertainers into stars by being watched by hundreds or thousands around the world.
But like the guitar player who stands on the corner on the street playing covers of Dylan and the Stones, there are opportunities elsewhere too. Taking guitar players as an example, they’ll often fund their careers through tutoring.
Tutoring is incredibly easy to do via live-streaming and is becoming an increasingly popular method of learning, allowing students to get the best possible education no matter where they are.
It allows users to either pre-organise sessions, or in many cases simply stream something with a title such as ‘Learn To Play Guitar’ and wait for an audience.
This isn’t the first example of people or brands making money through social media, with companies using the benefits of Snapchat to reach an audience.
Brands such as 20th Century Fox have continually promoted movies on their Snapchat account in a bid to get more bums in seats at the cinema and get people talking about their movies. And it’s worked. Recent films such as X-Men: Days of Future Past and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes have made it into their top 20 highest grossing films of all-time.
Of course that doesn’t directly bring a cash flow in, but for some Snapchat users, they can earn more than $100,000 (£64,000) a week.
Last year the Social Times told the story of Jerome Jarre, Shaun McBride, and Chris Carmichael, who are picking up six-figure paychecks from brands to promote them. Brands such as Taco Bell and Disney have used the men, paying them handsomely to promote their products.
The likes of YouTube and Vine both are offering similar opportunities, but you don’t have to put your face in front of the camera to make money. The world of podcasts offer equally lucrative opportunities.
Like Twitch, Snapchat, and the rest, the way to earn money is by building a following, and when it comes to podcasts the optimum audience is around 20,000 listeners per episode. Again, like the previous platforms mentioned, subscription fees have potential, whilst sponsorships are also a good idea to earn revenue.
New age broadcasting is creating a new range of broadcasters and a new range of stars. Put a picture of Kim Kardashian and a picture of Steven Bonnell in front of a gamer and the result will come as a bit of a surprise for most.
But it’s a sign of the times, and for what it is worth, it’s making the media more diverse than ever before, enabling us to broadcast ourselves, whoever we are, if we so wish.
What the future holds is no doubt more opportunities. The likes of Twitch and Snapchat are only going to get bigger and more and more people are going to seek livings from using the platforms. And with easier ways to learn guitar, play poker, or whatever the entertainment is; we can’t argue with that.