Twitch is back to doing Twitch things. What now, you ask? So, so much. Instead of the usual one at a time, they’ve gone all in on poor decision making. Let’s look at the three that irritate me the most.
They’ve been testing “mid-roll” ads. These are video advertisements that interrupt the streamer’s content, sending it into a muted picture-in-picture window in the upper corner of the stream. Now, the “pre-roll” (as you enter stream) ads are bad enough. You can’t skip them, you can’t provide feedback on them, and they certainly don’t earn you any Bits. If you were a paid member of Twitch Prime, their paid premium membership, you didn’t see any ads. NO MORE! Now, you get free games (that I don’t want) or in-game cosmetics (that I rarely want), and you see “pre-roll” ads like anybody else. Unless you’ve subscribed to that streamer. Confused yet? Welcome to Twitch.
Oh, and be sure that it’ll change again soon, with little to no notice. So, let me try to break this down a little bit, as I understand it.
For the pre-roll ads, Twitch’s logic was that it supported the streamer, because the desire to avoid ads would encourage people to purchase paid subscriptions to their favorite streamers.
- Did they provide streamers the option to enable and disable pre-roll ads, so they could decide whether their viewers should have their eyeballs held hostage? Nope.
- Did they provide the Twitch Prime members the choice between ad-free viewing and games/cosmetics? Nope.
So, big changes in the way paid memberships and ads work, no community input from Affiliates, streamers, or viewers. Very little notice. No response to consistent feedback of “We don’t want this!”
Now, it appears they’ve learned the smallest lesson from their last change. Let’s break down the recent mid-roll testing, as I understand it.
- No communication to Affiliates, streamers, or viewers until the day of.
- Interrupting streamers’ content (what brings the eyeballs to the ads in the first place), shrinking it, and muting it.
- The massive negative response on Twitter was recorded – responses were tallied.
- An after-the-fact opinion poll was taken – responses were tallied.
- There wasn’t any attempt to spin this as good for the streamer or their community.
Twitch is rolling out their own music player for streamers. It’s guaranteed to be safe from copyright claims, much like Pretzel.rocks. However, instead of paying the labels and the artists their due, they are using legal loopholes to completely avoid paying for using and broadcasting the musicians’ work. Completely unlike Pretzel. This would be a normal corporate move, except that Twitch is part of Amazon, which has already built an entire infrastructure and application suite for legally playing music, keeping track of which artist, which album, and which song were played, and for what purpose.
Presenting a Twitch-branded player for in-stream music that purposefully works around paying the artists what they’re due is despicable.
Small streams are the norm. From my understanding, they are over 85% of the streams that run on Twitch. And when I say small, I mean 10 viewers or less. If one of these streamers, like myself, wants to send their viewers to another streamer at the end of their stream, they use a Twitch command called “raid”. This sends your viewers to the other stream, and sends a notification to that streamer. Many of us like to celebrate being raided, thanking the streamer for sending us their viewers, and welcoming them all to the community. Often, people will raid others playing the same game, or others that they know will treat their viewers well.
Twitch has stopped sending raid notifications for five or less viewers. This means that for the vast majority of raids, streamers are blind to the gesture, and to the people that have suddenly joined their viewership. That welcome, and that fostering of community, is no longer part of the Twitch experience.
So long, and thanks for all the fish.
Twitch is going the way YouTube did, and there’s no reason to stick around for it. I’ll be moving my stream to DLive starting Monday, so you’ll be able to catch it here on my usual schedule – Monday and Wednesday at 9PM Eastern, and one day on the weekend.
So long, Twitch.