Streamer Power Prevails: Twitch Reverses Branded Content Policies After Backlash

  • AUTHOR: editor
  • POSTED ON: June 8, 2023

In a surprising turn of events, Twitch has done a complete 180° just one day after unveiling its bold advertising changes. It was as if the streaming giant hit the brakes, realizing the uproar its decision had caused.

On Tuesday, they confidently announced an update to their branded content guidelines, outlining strict rules for streamers when it came to sponsorships, endorsements, and paid promotions.

But Twitch couldn’t have predicted the tidal wave of criticism that followed. The uproar grew so deafening that by Wednesday afternoon, Twitch had no choice but to retreat and reverse course. It’s a rare case of a company being forced to hit the rewind button so quickly, leaving many wondering what will come next in this ever-evolving saga.

“We have decided to revoke the recently introduced Branded Content Guidelines, which had a negative impact on your potential to collaborate with sponsors and enhance your streaming income,” stated the company. “These guidelines were deemed unfavorable for both you and Twitch, and we have promptly removed them.”

The revisions aimed to impose stringent limitations on in-channel sponsorships, which serve as a primary source of income for numerous Twitch streamers. These changes would have prohibited various widely used ad formats that streamers frequently incorporate into their live streams.

Adding to the situation, the extensive modifications, which threatened to disrupt current sponsorship agreements for numerous prominent streamers, were scheduled to be implemented within a short timeframe. – by July 01.

The response from the community was immediate and vehement, with both popular and smaller streamers swiftly criticizing Twitch for the sudden alteration in branded content regulations. They emphasized how these changes would detrimentally affect their income-generating capabilities on the platform.

Numerous content creators interpreted Twitch’s abrupt modifications to the branded content guidelines as an attempt by the company, owned by Amazon, to establish a greater presence in the relationship between streamers and their sponsors.

While Twitch currently receives a 50 percent share of creator earnings through the standard revenue-sharing agreement, it does not participate in the profitable deals that streamers negotiate with sponsors and advertisers.

Given that the economics of streaming is not inherently favorable to creators, most dedicated streamers heavily rely on ads and sponsors to bridge the monetization gap.

Streamers commonly feature “burned-in” ads, where advertisements are directly shown on their streams through various formats such as display banners, video commercials, or audio. The announced changes on Tuesday would have banned all such ads, except for minuscule display ads that occupy less than three percent of the screen.

There was widespread confusion regarding the three percent limit, as some streamers highlighted that even Twitch’s own “good” example ad occupied more screen space than what would be permitted under the revised guidelines.

The recent changes to the branded content rules are not the only contentious issue that Twitch, the live-streaming giant, has stirred up recently. In the past year, Twitch sparked another controversy when it revealed its intentions to eliminate the 70/30 revenue split, which allowed certain top streamers to retain a larger portion of their earnings.

Despite the Twitch community’s longstanding demand for equal treatment in terms of revenue sharing, the company outlined a vision that could subject everyone to a significantly less profitable 50/50 split.

With the recent uproar surrounding Twitch’s sudden changes to the branded content guidelines and the ongoing debate about revenue splits, the relationship between streamers and the platform finds itself at a critical juncture.

The livelihoods of countless creators hang in the balance as they heavily rely on sponsorships and advertisements to sustain their streaming careers and turn their passion into a viable source of income. These developments have ignited a firestorm of discontent within the Twitch community, prompting a deep reflection on the platform’s policies and their impact on content creators.

One of the primary concerns raised by streamers is Twitch’s move to prohibit various in-channel sponsorships and popular ad formats. The proposed limitations threatened to disrupt existing sponsorship deals and limit streamers’ ability to maximize their revenue potential.

The community was quick to point out the adverse consequences these changes would have on their income streams and the financial viability of their channels. Moreover, the announcement of such alterations with a short implementation timeframe, set for July 1, further exacerbated the frustrations felt by streamers.

The consequences of these recent developments are twofold. Firstly, streamers face the imminent challenge of adapting to the revised guidelines and finding alternative ways to monetize their content effectively.

The sudden prohibition of prominent ad formats has disrupted established revenue streams, forcing streamers to reconsider their monetization strategies and potentially seek alternative platforms or sponsorship opportunities outside of Twitch.

Secondly, these changes have strained the relationship between Twitch and its content creators. Many streamers perceive the alterations as a means for the platform, owned by Amazon, to exert greater control over the sponsorship landscape.

The discontent stems from the perception that Twitch aims to position itself as an intermediary between streamers and sponsors, potentially impacting creators’ ability to negotiate lucrative deals independently.

As the community continues to voice its concerns and push for fairer treatment, the ball is now in Twitch’s court to respond to the challenges at hand. The decisions made by the platform in the coming months will shape the landscape of live streaming and determine its standing in the hearts and wallets of both established and aspiring streamers.

It is a critical moment for Twitch to reassess its policies, engage in meaningful dialogue with the community, and strike a balance that supports the growth and prosperity of its content creators while ensuring the long-term sustainability and success of the platform.

The future of Twitch hangs in the balance, and its ability to navigate these challenges will be pivotal in shaping the future of live streaming as a whole!

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Updated June 8, 2023
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