A subathon is a livestream that only continues when money is transferred to the livestreaming person. Among other things, rates such as the following are used here: donating one euro leads to another minute being streamed. Or: a subscription leads to ten minutes of additional livestream time.
These livestreams are particularly common on Twitch. The site is the best-known platform on which livestreams are held. Video games and eSports events make up the majority of streams, but other categories are also very popular.
How does a Subathon work? Meaning, definition, explanation
A subathon is a special type of stream. The word is made up of the two words „subscription“ and „marathon“. On Twitch, it is possible to subscribe to streamers for an amount ranging from €3.99 to €24.99. For this, the viewer includes exclusive emotes, as well as other benefits that the streamer can decide.
With a subathon, the streamer specifies a certain minimum time that the stream will run. Viewers then have the chance to extend the duration of the stream through subscriptions. Each subscription increases the duration of the stream by a certain amount of time. When the timer, which is usually displayed along with it, drops to zero, the stream ends. So how long a subathon lasts depends on the streamer and the viewers. However, there is often an upper limit.
If a streamer has set the start time at twelve hours and each subscription adds ten minutes of time, then with 200 subscriptions completed, the stream would last 15 hours and 20 minutes. There are often other rewards for viewers in addition to the longer stream duration. For example, depending on the subscriptions, challenges are unlocked for the streamer or sweepstakes are launched. The execution of a subathon varies from streamer to streamer.
Known Subathons: Ludwig
There are now numerous subathons. The most famous one was held by the steamer „Ludwig“. The stream was originally scheduled for 30 minutes and could be extended by 15 seconds each through donations or subscriptions. In total, the stream lasted over 30 days. Viewers were also able to watch Ludwig sleep. Ludwig set the record for most subscriptions received during the subathon. 283,066 Twitch users subscribed to Ludwig at the time. This broke Ninja’s record, which was previously 269,154.
At the current time, streamer GhostInTheMachine holds the record for the longest completed subathon on Twitch. His subathon lasted 76 hours. He is followed by Athena with 47 hours and PappiEric with 45 days.
Advantages and criticism: Subathon
The goal of a subathon is the same for most streamers. The format is intended to attract viewers to financially support the channel. In return, they receive content over whose length and partly over whose content they can co-determine. The longer and more spectacular the subathon is, the more likely it is that the streamer will be reported on. The streamer’s reach can thus continue to grow beyond the subathon.
Charity events on Twitch are also often held as subathons. Usually, streamers and NGOs work together to reach a donation goal. In addition to donations, attention is drawn to the respective charity topic.
Twitch has faced repeated criticism that the platform encourages streamers to consider long streams. According to critics, the mechanics reward holding long subathons. The mental health of streamers is damaged as a result, they say.