Daily Archives: 2023-06-07

Twitch bans stream sponsor overlays, and “I’ve never seen creators so pissed”

Source: Ars Technica

Article note: This general trend of tech companies trying to profiteer off of being the middle-man for distributing user-created content, while simultaneously preventing the creators from monetizing (or users to access) content outside channels they can skim is not going to make for a good time. It's clearly driven by the drying-up of VC money and increasingly obvious over-extension of the advertising industry, but it's also obviously non-viable. Maybe if we're lucky it'll drive some decentralization and break up the chokepoints (eg. Youtube, Reddit, Twitch), but the economics and user experience to do that well are hard to get right.
Visual examples of the kinds of "burned in" sponsorships that Twitch's new guidelines won't allow.

Enlarge / Visual examples of the kinds of "burned in" sponsorships that Twitch's new guidelines won't allow. (credit: Twitch)

A recent update to Twitch's guidelines restricts many kinds of overlaid ads that streamers themselves can sell and insert on top of their own content. And while Twitch now says it "missed the mark with... policy language" that was "overly broad," many major streamers are still up in arms over a policy they say could severely affect their ability to make money from content on the popular Amazon-owned streaming platform.

In a June 6 update to its Branded Content Policy guidelines (that Twitch says it will start enforcing on July 1), the platform said that so-called "burned in" videos, display banners, or audio ads are not permitted on the platform. These ad formats are popular with many major streamers, who sell a portion of their screen real estate as part of overall branded stream sponsorship deals.

While basic sponsor logos will still be allowed to be shown on these streams, those sponsorships "are limited to 3% of screen size" under the new guidelines. That could be a problem for some disabled streamers because, as blind streamer Steve Saylor pointed out, that size "isn't accessible for low vision users as it is too small for overlays and even smaller on mobile."

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