By Lee Sidney, Technology reporter
Livestreaming service Twitch revisits ad rules after receiving criticism and threats of boycott from content creators
In a recent announcement, Twitch, the Amazon-owned platform for livestreaming, revealed plans to impose restrictions on the size and type of advertisements used by streamers. This proposed change would have significantly impacted streamers’ ability to generate income on the platform.
Following the uproar caused by the new policy, Twitch has now acknowledged the need to revise its approach. Several prominent content creators threatened to boycott the platform, with some opting to move to alternative platforms.
Acknowledging the discontent, Twitch expressed regret in a tweet that garnered 17.6 million views, stating, “Today’s branded-content policy update was overly broad. This created confusion and frustration – and we apologize for that. We do not intend to limit streamers’ ability to enter into direct relationships with sponsors – and we understand that this is an important part of how streamers earn revenue.”
However, UK streamer Marco, known online as Stallion, expressed his decision to depart from Twitch despite the revised announcement. Speaking to BBC News, Stallion explained, “This is the push that I needed to get me off this platform. This has been something that’s been in my mind for the last two years… the problem with Twitch is it has next to no discoverability – it’s one of those platforms where if you’re not already at the top, you’re not going to be.”
Stallion continued, “I get it that it’s a business, but it’s like there’s no thought about the people who are on the platform… it just feels like it’s all about the money now and nothing to do with us.”
Under the proposed rules, streamers would have been prohibited from embedding ads directly into their streams, regardless of the ad format. Additionally, the size of logos would have been limited to only 3% of the screen size. Streamers typically rely on embedded ads to ensure their visibility throughout their broadcasts.
Twitch usually shares 50% of the revenue it collects from streamers’ subscribers, though top-tier creators receive a 70-30 “revenue split.” However, Twitch does not receive any portion of the ad or donation revenue generated by streamers.
In comparison, YouTubers receive 70% of revenue from their subscriptions (known as memberships), while YouTube takes a 30% cut of fan donations.
The new rules also raised concerns for charity events like Games Done Quick, which announced in June that it had raised $2.2 million for Doctors Without Borders. Such events heavily rely on logos that occupy a significant portion of the screen.
The exact details of the revised policy are yet to be clarified. Nevertheless, for some streamers, the damage has already been done.
Stallion expressed his disappointment, saying, “There’s no thought about the people who are on the platform, whether they depend on it for their livelihood or not… This is a move I should have made years ago – but it’s one that I’ve honestly been very scared to make because it’s my full-time career. Long term, this is going to be the best thing for me.”