Twitch, like so many other free Internet platforms , works on ads. These ads are annoying as hell. They are also a raw deal for most streamers. Soon, however, both things will change.
As part of today's opening ceremony for TwitchCon, the company announced a number of upcoming changes, including a new creator dashboard, new channel pages, improved moderation tools, and a system that will allow viewers to earn points that can swap for channel-specific awards. The company also announced a surprisingly comprehensive review of how the site's ads work, which will start rolling out in the next two weeks.
Soon, ads will reproduce picture-in-picture with streaming – unlike passwording over them – and streamers will be able to disable ads before casting in favor of regular advertising breaks. Twitch partners will also soon be making money from ads, a bonus that has historically been reserved only for partners. When non-affiliate or affiliate users are broadcast in the meantime, there will be no video ads in the meantime to ensure that any ad playing on the channel supports this channel. The ads will also be played in the same volume as anything else you watch at that time. Thank goodness.
Ads are currently being played before and during streams, and they predict what stream you're trying to watch. The setting for the big moment you just learned will happen via Twitter or word of mouth? Very bad. You may miss it because a brand that has to shout for gamer fuel or whatever. Oh, and I don't use the term "scream" lightly; ads are often stronger than the streams you watch, forcing viewers to adjust the volume unless they want ringing tones of State Farm insurance in their ears.
Theoretically, these changes also make things better for streamers who run the risk of losing non-permanent viewers of ads they have little control over, and – in the case of vanilla users and affiliates – from whom they have not received a single cent. Now they will at least get some money and the new system will even give them an estimated payout for ads. On top of that, it removes another barrier between affiliates and partners, eliminating the gap between those who are essentially gemificated levels that open people up to the opportunity to earn sustainable money from their labor. This stratification is far from being eliminated, but all that makes it less difficult is winning long-term strivers.
But here's the thing: During the inauguration ceremony, Twitch CEO Emmett Shear said these changes were driven by the fact that "we encourage people to take much more regular advertising breaks." Twitch account is a platform in the modern media age. That means it's in the advertising business and the ways streamers make money – which includes donations to viewers and subscribers, as well as sponsorships from companies – are the ads that most favor Twitch in terms of persistently generated revenue. For most servers, ads are a relatively small part of their business compared to the other options mentioned above.
Twitch has enough reason to ask affiliates and partners – streamers with a real audience – to run more ads. This makes the company more money in the short term and makes the platform's ad deals more attractive to prospective buyers because their ads will be viewed by real eyeballs. Previously, Twitch could not provide this guarantee given that viewers get annoyed and leave before the ads end, and many ads are played before broadcasts by non-partners / partners who often have zero viewers. So, on the one hand, we get less annoying ads, but we also get more of them, and chances are that, in the grand scheme of things, the system will continue to take advantage of Twitch significantly more than in most cases glow.