The End of Reruns: How Much Did We Cost Twitch?

I’ve been a long time user of Twitch. As a matter of fact, my account originates from the time of Justin.TV, a separate but well-known streaming service that was acquired by Twitch in 2014. I stream occasionally on Twitch, but not enough to justify Affiliate or Partner status. In fact, I’m one measure short in their well-established criteria: I need people viewing me live.

Figure 1: My “Path to Affiliate” falls one step short.

The nature of CSGO Competitive Extreme, which is to primarily record matches in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competitive mode to avoid problem elements that an occur in a live stream (such as spam, the revealing of personally identifying information, objectionable content such as nudity in the avatars), makes it difficult to broadcast in a live sense. Therefore, I use the rerun feature to both give the Twitch channel an element of a gaming marathon, in a sense, but also allow as much diverse gameplay show up as possible. I frequently rotate my assortment of competitive matches in the rerun queue, and our steady increase in followers gives me the confidence to say people like our content.

But it is important to note that my reruns, given their massive size and span time (often a few minutes short of the 24-hour maximum duration), were likely a thorn in Twitch’s backside. As such, I was relatively disappointed that Twitch decided to restrict the functionality from a majority of its users to “Affiliates” and up. But I am not surprised.

For now, CSGO Competitive Extreme itself is not under threat. We use the Uploads feature of Twitch to deliver our videos, which is separate from Past Broadcasts and as of this writing, stored indefinitely on Twitch.

CSGO Competitive Extreme is a free series, is non-commercial, and does not rely on donations or monetization for support. Twitch, as a content provider, places advertisements on our videos and we do not receive any special privileges or features beyond any normal Twitch user, beyond the free hosting of these videos. That leaves one question to be asked: how much did I cost them?

While Twitch uses Amazon Web Services for some things, such as EC2 for their Chat Servers, it probably uses an array of services and applications to power its streaming network. It is also important to note that Twitch, being owned by Amazon and a massive user of its infrastructure, likely has a far less input cost than that which is stated, even if it is for the highest publicly priced usage tier which provides massive savings. Several figures of mine are at best estimates and at worst, pure supposition. I asked Twitch directly if they are willing to provide me with the cost of each rerun, but unfortunately they did not respond by the time this article was published.

For this reason, these figures are intended for entertainment purposes only: not as a reliable calculation.

With those disclaimers out of the way, let’s begin.


How much does a CSGO Competitive Extreme rerun cost Twitch?

Assuming a 23-hour rerun of Twitch Uploads, streaming at 5,000kbps (1080p60) in a 30-day month…

Video storage

Storing video is probably the least expensive element of my Twitch reruns, since Twitch has a massive collection of Past Broadcasts, Highlights, and Uploads already stored on their service. And, with storage costs plummeting, it is incredibly likely this figure will be less in the future.

  • Video storage cost: $0.021/GB/month (S3 Standard Storage; Over 500TB/Month)
  • Video storage size (estimated): 50 gigabytes per stream
  • Video storage price (per month): $1.05
  • rerun multiplier (help calculates cost for each rerun): 0.03194444444
  • Video storage price per rerun: $0.03

Computing costs

Because my videos are already compressed by Twitch and to their specifications, they likely do not have to be encoded again for Twitch’s ingest servers. They are considered vodcasts according to dated Twitch terminology. My guess is that it’s served to users like a video-on-demand upload, but enqueued and synced to each person like a livestream. I have no information on the cost to Twitch. Therefore, I am estimating the computing costs at $0.00.

Bandwidth costs

Likely the most pricey of the three, bandwidth too is becoming less expensive as technology advances. No doubt, my reruns have utilized Twitch’s bandwidth to any person willing to watch my content.

  • Video length: 23 hours
  • Audiovisual data rate: 5,000kbps (a modest ballmark average)
  • Bandwidth transferred (assuming at least one person is watching): 50 gigabytes per stream
  • Cost of bandwidth: $0.02/GB (CloudFront’s highest public tier)
  • Bandwidth price per rerun: $1.00

Ad nauseum

That brings the total estimated cost to Twitch, per rerun, at $1.03.

Now that we’ve got the basics down, multiplying these ballpark figures by some more ballpark figures will prove a cinch. Remember, we are assuming today’s prices for storage and bandwidth, and no cost for Twitch’s computer processing of these files. Being a fervent user of the “rerun” feature since it’s introduction as “vodcasting” back in early 2017. I have used the feature nearly every month it has been in place for me, and as such, I’ve probably cost Twitch a pretty penny. How much? Let’s give it a spin once more.

  • Estimated cost to Twitch per rerun: $1.03
  • Number of reruns:
    • 2017: 73
      • June 2017: 10
      • July 2017: 17
      • August 2017: 19
      • September 2017: 15
      • October 2017: 4
      • November 2017: 5
      • December 2017: 3
    • 2018: 94
      • January 2018: 1
      • February 2018: 2
      • March 2018: 8
      • April 2018: 12
      • May 2018: 18
      • June 2018: 17
      • July 2018: 14
      • August 2018: 16
      • September 2018: 6 + 1 (my last rerun)
  • Total reruns: 167
  • Estimated rerun costs to Twitch: $172.01

Conclusion

Oh snap! That’s a lot of money. Did Twitch really have to pay $1.03 to each time I ran a rerun on Twitch, much less $172.01 over the 15 months I’ve been doing reruns? Probably not. But, given the countless streamers that are not Affiliate status on Twitch, who utilized the rerun feature often and nearly to its maximum duration, it can’t be all that surprising they chose to curtail its use. After all, think of all the money they could be saving!

On behalf of people who are now thinking they lost their ability to rerun because of me, please know my sympathies are with you and I’ll gladly lend you a view should you wish to make the journey to partner status. If you’re interested on taking me up on this offer, or have any questions or comments on this article, please send me a message on Twitch or YouTube.