Lessons about the Creator Economy from Twitch and Substack
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I worked on creator growth at Twitch and now write this newsletter on Substack. Live streaming and publishing might seem like two different fields, but I see many parallels between the creator economies on both platforms.
Below are eight observations.
1. Consistency is the key to growth
On Twitch, creators grow by streaming consistently, which means broadcasting for many hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week. If they take time off, they’ll lose paid subscribers:
On Substack, most paid newsletter writers also publish several times a week. It's a good thing that streamers and writers love what they're doing because there's no escape from the grind.
2. The 80:20 rule applies to both creators and fans
On Twitch and Substack, top creators have thousands of fans and make hundreds of thousands every month. But the vast majority of creators stream to an empty room or write for a few readers. It’s very hard for creators without an existing audience elsewhere (e.g., on Twitter) to grow organically on the platform.
The 80:20 rule applies to fans well. On both platforms, only a fraction of viewers and readers pay to subscribe to creators. Some of these paid subscribers are true fans who will even gift subscriptions to other viewers and readers to bring them into the creator’s community. Gift subscriptions was one of the most successful product launches at Twitch, but I'm not sure how successful it has been for Substack.
I think this is because…
3. The community is just as important as the content
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