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Alexandru Amariei for Monetizing Philanthropy

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Ludwig’s subathon - when an idea snowballs unexpectedly

Ludwig and Twitch

The Twitch community has seen impressive growth over the years, starting from around 100.000 viewers on average in 2012 and having around 3 million concurrent viewers nowadays. Besides well-known streamers, like Pokimane, Ninja, or moistcr1tikal, one of the biggest creators on Twitch is Ludwig Ahgren. Ludwig started streaming full-time on February 16, 2019. Usually, he is streaming games, like Among Us and Valorant, plays Chess (even together with Magnus Carlsen), or just chats and engages with his community. In March 2021, he started a subathon on his channel, the short for subscription marathon, a non-stop stream where each Twitch subscription added another 10 extra seconds of streaming. However, the whole situation went out of control, in arguably the best way possible. Why? Because a stream that was expected to last a maximum of 48 hours became a one-month phenomenon, which in the end made Ludwig the biggest streamer on Twitch.

The subathon

Nobody, not even Ludwig, expected that the subathon would get so much traction. However, people started donating, and donating, and donating even more, just to keep the stream up. For Ludwig, this meant that he had to keep going, streaming almost everything he was doing, from his regular game streams to himself sleeping. As Charlie, another Twitch streamer, jokingly pointed out, Ludwig was being held hostage by the people on his stream. After 31 days, on April 13, he had to stop the subathon, regardless of the subscriptions still rolling in. Probably the biggest achievement of this subathon is that Ludwig and his community managed to break Ninja’s record for the most number of subscribers, peaking at 283.066 active subscriptions.

Numbers and charity

This whole event is really interesting, from several points of view, including crowdfunding. The tracking tools for Twitch, like TwitchTracker, do not really provide details about the money Ludwig earned during his subathon. However, some people in his Twitch community were dedicated enough to put their effort into tracking the amount of money Ludwig made during the month he streamed. The amount of money spent by people on chat for subscriptions, bits (the “currency” used on Twitch) together with the media share is around $1.4 million. However, this was not the amount Ludwig received. First, Twitch took a cut of the money, then the moderators in the chat were paid, and the amount of self-gifted subscriptions had to be covered. Furthermore, Ludwig said that he would donate to charity $1 for each subscription and $5 for each subscription at the end of the stream. The amount to be donated for charity reached more than $360.000. Finally, after taxes, it is estimated that Ludwig made almost $210.000 throughout the subathon.

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