A controversial trend of “hot tub” live streams on Twitch is making female stars plenty of money – but it has its critics. Demand for hot tubs rocketed during the pandemic – probably because they’re all being snapped up by Twitch streamers. The live streaming platform, which is popular with kids, allows viewers to essentially watch others playing video games. Still, it’s recently been flooded with users making cash by chatting with fans from hot tubs while wearing bikinis. Most Twitch live streams are of gamers playing games, with fans able to speak with the streamer and send them money.
But the site also hosts other kinds of streams that aren’t necessarily about gaming – including some of the hot tub trends, where scantily clad streamers just chat with fans. The movement has been slammed by some as being a perceived violation of the platform’s community guidelines, which expressly prohibit sexually suggestive content. But the streams have proved enormously popular recently, with some of the biggest hot tub streamers pulling in hundreds of thousands of new subscribers in a matter of weeks.
Some critics say such videos have no place on a platform that skews to younger viewers. According to Statista, as much as 38 percent of all Twitch app users in the US last year were aged between 10 and 19. Here’s how the steamy trend boiled over – and how streamers are using it to make a killing.
‘People like looking at pretty women’
With over 30 million daily users, there’s a massive audience for professional Twitch streamers to cash in on. The Amazon-owned platform is designed for users to live to stream their gameplay to others. But video games aren’t necessarily the main attraction for viewers on some channels, where the hot tub craze has come in.
Some streamers began hosting videos and chatting with followers while sitting in a hot tub last year.
But the trend has really ramped up in 2021, with the site’s famous “Just Chatting” stream category becoming awash with hot tub videos. The streamers sometimes play video games while in the tubs, while others react to fans’ messages and gifts in real-time. “I think people like looking at pretty women in bikinis, and I love being in a hot tub and meme-ing around, so it’s a win-win.
Streamer Spoopy Kitt told Kotaku. The hot tub streams aren’t just about building a following – they’re also a way for streamers to make money. Viewers can pay to have the streamers do different things like change their bikini or put stickers on whiteboards. Kaitlyn “Amouranth” Siragusa, who’s gained nearly 500,000 since the end of March, charges $50 to write viewers’ names on her body during hot tub streams.