If you've consumed content on Twitch for any amount of time you've likely heard a variation of the following phrase: "Hey ChocolateTurtle, thanks for the subscription!" For some of the largest streamers on the platform, they will utter a similar sentence hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of times per month with a small number counter on their screen visible for both viewers and themselves.
For those unaware, viewers can "subscribe" to a Twitch channel to support a content creator they enjoy which, for a base price of $4.99 per month, can unlock perks for the subscriber as well. If an individual subscribes to a channel for consecutive months, they "resub" to the channel and it can show a creator that the content consumer enjoys what they're doing enough to support them more than just one time.
For some of the largest streamers on the platform who get thousands or tens of thousands of subscribers a month, it's almost a badge of honor as a sub to have the longest resub streak on their channel. It is sort of like supporting a content creator before they blew up and became popular opposed to joining after they became a mainstream name on Twitch. It shows incredible loyalty to the channel and creator.
However, there is one individual who has subscribed to a single content creator longer than anyone else on the platform and it was this content creator whom, without their effort, there would have been no subscriber button available on the platform -- at least at the time.
The start of it all
Nearly a decade ago, Sean "Day9" Plott was living with what many others around the country live with every day, student loans. In a recent email exchange with InvenGlobal, the then popular StarCraft player, broadcaster and community member recalled the few days that would change the course of Twitch forever.
"In late 2010, some fans organized a donation drive after hearing that I was stressed about loans for grad school tuition. Back then it was difficult, even a bit taboo, to make money as a gaming broadcaster. But, in just a couple of days, thousands of dollars rolled into my PayPal account. It was unimaginable and heartwarming that thousands of viewers cared enough to send a few dollars and say "thank you for making this content.
After the donation drive, large numbers of community members continued to ask for ways to support DayTV. I researched the few long-standing content creators in that era and found that Leo Laporte's TWiT (This Week in Tech) had the option for viewers to set up recurring monthly donations. This made a lot of sense to me. Instead of the traditional media model of "pay first, consume second," an opt-in-support model allowed everyone to view for free and support if they wished.
At this time, Justin.TV was beginning to transition to Twitch.TV, and the Twitch.TV folks like (co-founder) Kevin Lin asked what features we'd like to see. We shared the idea of "subscriptions" as a potential idea. The grad school donation drive experience suggested to us that viewers were happy and eager to support content creators, they merely lacked a clear method to do so. Twitch were immediately receptive to the idea and launched subscriptions a few months later with my channel as the first."
In a post on Reddit back in 2017, Twitch's CEO, Emmett Shear, confirmed that Day9's channel was the first to have a subscription button for a few months prior to anyone else.
Once his channel was granted the button, viewers subscribed by the hundreds, including many who still support him nearly 100 months later.
"For you catbert, since you've been subbed so long, I'll see what I can do."
According to Twitchstats, Day9's stream has the six longest sub-streaks of anyone on the platform with all of them being 96 months or longer (as of July 5). Assuming each Twitch subscription is $4.99 and they have never donated to Day9 further, those individual's contribution over the years is an estimated $500.
However, there is one who has been subscribed longer than anyone else on the platform.
100 months of commitment
When July 22nd rolls around, Day9 will see something appear that has not been seen in the history of the platform: a subscriber clock in for 100 consecutive months. This subscriber's handle is Catbert321. Over eight-years of commitment to one content creator on Twitch via subscription has never happened before.
In a conversation with InvenGlobal via Reddit messages, Catbert opened up about the first time they recall subscribing to Day9 on Twitch, a concept that was foreign at the time.
"It certainly was Justin.tv back then. As for the why I subbed, it was only $5 and we had watched enough Day9.TV in the house (laptop plugged into TV) to feel like it was worth supporting him. The 'we' being my (now) wife and I. We both watched a lot Day9 and always enjoyed his 'Funday Monday' and 'Newbie Tuesday' streams. I would sometimes try and learn because I wanted to improve my game, but we both enjoyed laughing at the silly-ness that was 'Funday Monday.'
I hadn't actually considered the [site] to be unknown or strange. I had watched a decent amount of StarCraft on the site and was a frequent 'Let's Play' watcher on Youtube before finding Justin.tv and Day9 (probably through /r/starcraft). So this was just a site trying to capitalize on the live aspect of watching games, which I was in the demographic as wanting."
And support they did. Month after month. Year after year. Catbert321 was there. Even during points in their lives when cutting costs became a necessity.
"There was one point I was laid off and we made a list of expenses, seeing which were mandatory, and which were extraneous. When the Twitch.tv charge for Day9tv came up, as a household, we decided that we could not stop supporting him and lose that streak. We had been entertained enough by him over the years, and could still afford $5 a month, and within a couple of weeks I had a job again, so we never hit dire straits and had to cut the sub out."
It's natural for a content creator to play different games over the years to mix things up; from StarCraft to DOTA to Hearthstone and other numerous titles in between, Day9 is no exception.
Even as Day9 jumped from game to game over the years, Catbert321 was there in the chat, showing support for their content creator of choice. When asked about their favorite memories over the years, they talk about how, as a family, they got in the mood to watch Day9 play the horror title, Amnesia, for the first time.
"We were very hyped in our house to watch him play Amnesia, he had been talking about it for a bit, and we were ready. We plugged the laptop into the TV, turned off all the lights in our apartment and watched along as he got scared, laughed, and man-moded his was through the game. The joy of this run really has stuck around; there were a few times when he had really cut back on streaming, and I'd get the email about paying another $5 to twitch for the sub to Day9, but all we'd have to do is mention Amnesia and that stream alone has always been worth the price of admission for every month subscribed."
Having a personal relationship with someone who you never get the chance to meet face-to-face can be quite difficult and Twitch is no different. When a streamer sees a random alias pop up on their screen as a subscriber, it can be challenging to reciprocate appreciation.
Back in 2014, Day9 wanted to set up an opportunity for his supporters to meet with him and chat for a bit after a TwitchCon. Although Catbert321 did not attend the convention, they lived nearby and thought they would make the trip, a memory they will never forget.
"At the breakfast when he was meeting people and saying 'Hi' and meeting me as 'the infamous Catbert with his 54 months of subscription' I (40% jokingly) asked him when we were gonna get him to play SOMA on stream. And he replied with (60% jokingly?) something along the lines of, 'For you catbert, since you've been subbed so long, I'll see what I can do.' And lo and behold he ended up putting it on his schedule to play, played it, and also cursed my name during [one] of [the] scary parts. That will always be a fun moment in Day9.tv history which I am glad to be a part of."
For Day9, the years of support is something he still holds quite close to his heart, he says.
"What we never anticipated is that those early subscribers would stick around for years. Those subs aren't merely quiet supporters -- they've been actively participating in chat the entire time, and I've met many in real life at conventions or community meetups. As we approach several 100-month subs in August, I want to thank all the subscribers on Twitch for making so much content creation possible."
When July 22 comes around, Day9 will be in a similar place as he was over eight years ago when he saw the name "Catbert321" for the first time on his computer screen. For Catbert321, it will be a moment 100 months in the making with no end in sight on their journey on Twitch and Justin.TV together.
Tim Rizzo is the editor and a reporter for Inven Global. He joined the company back in 2017.