Live-streaming platform Twitch -- which has over 1 million daily active streamers -- has seen widespread backlash from its creator community after announcing restrictive changes to its branded content guidelinesthat could hinder their ability to monetize original content and limit brand deals.
The guideline changes go into effect July 1 and strip many of creators' current options to advertise products and services by restricting logos on streams from occupying over 3% of a creator's screen size, prohibiting video, audio and display ads -- what Twitch is calling “burned-in” or prerecorded ads -- from being integrated into streams.
According to Twitch, streamers can still perform ad reads and share affiliate links in the chat. In addition, creators can play sponsored games and feature sponsored products in the background.
The rules have been criticized for affecting the way charity organizations raise money on Twitch, the impact they will have on brands that directly advertise on the platform, and for being confusing and vague.
“For clarification, is the ‘3% of screen size’ per logo? Or total logo space, accounting for multiple logos?” gaming streamer Anne Munition tweeted at Twitch. “Does it include dead space created by logo positioning? i.e. in a recent Rivals stream, there are 8 burned-in logos which take up over 9% of the screen.”
Amidst the questions and backlash, Twitch addressed its frustrated community in a series of tweets:
We missed the mark with the policy language and will rewrite the guidelines to be clearer. Thank you for sharing your concerns, and we appreciate the feedback. We'll notify the community once we have updated the language.”
The platform went on to backtrack. “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,” Twitch stated, adding that it was attempting to clarify its existing ads policy, which was “intended to prohibit third party ad networks from selling burned in video and display ads on Twitch.”
Despite Twitch's CMO Mike Minton telling The Verge in March “At the end of the day, we are committed to increasing the amount of money a streamer earns,” the platform has announced recent reductions to streamers’ monetization abilities.
Last September, the platform announced that it would be reducing its 70/30 revenue share with popular streamers down to a 50/50 split. Top streamers would retain the 70/30 split for the first $100,000 “earned through subscription revenue” but anything earned beyond that would be limited to a 50/50 split.