Twitch Takes Steps To Limit Sponsorships For Streamers And Then Takes A Step Back

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Twitch infuriated a lot of its streamers after the streaming platform made some changes to its policies and Terms of Service (TOS) surrounding how streamers are allowed to advertise during streams for the brands that sponsor them. After a very boisterous few hours of backlash and calls for a boycott from high-profile partners and a ton of other streamers, the company announced on Twitter that it was taking a step back to rewrite how some of the changes were worded.

The live streaming platform's changes, which will become effective on July 1, stated that logos on streams promoting a sponsored brand could not take up more than 3% of the screen, as well as prohibited any video or audio display ads from being placed directly into streams. The new move would have a negative impact on the revenue that streamers are able to procure through advertising products and services that sponsor them.

After the news broke on social media about the new policies and changes to TOS, streamers immediately began denouncing the moves and calling for a boycott of the platform. Amidst all the ensuing chaos, it seems someone at Twitch got the message and the streaming platform apologized, remarking, "Today's branded content policy update was overly broad. This created confusion and frustration, and we apologize for that."

twitch apology for branded content change

Twitch followed up its apology by trying to explain that it was only trying to clarify its existing ads policy "that was intended to prohibit third-party ad networks from selling burned-in video and display ads on Twitch, which is consistent with other services." The company said it "missed the mark with the policy language" and intends on rewriting the guidelines "to be clearer."

Even with the apology and response, streamers were still angry and many pointed out that Twitch even included graphics explaining the new policy and what was and was not allowed. One partnered streamer, @PaladinAmber, expressed her displeasure with the changes and how she could circumvent them, announcing, "Checkmate".

paladin amber response to branded content change

The new changes also come with a new tool, the branded content disclosure tool, that creators must use if they are producing any branded content. Twitch says the tool is to ensure that branded content meets the format requirements and that products or services creators are promoting are permitted. For some, it simply feels as though Twitch is simply trying to put its hands even deeper in the streamer's cookie jar.

Another source of contention was the fact that rules for simulcasting were moved to the general TOS section. The wording is broad and seems to only give a pass to non-profit and government entities. Before this move, non-partners/affiliates were allowed to simulcast, helping them to grow and get their name out.

For any streamer who might be wondering if this affects them, Twitch says that "Branded content is any content on your channel that is produced for a brand for an exchange of value."

All of this, along with past discretions by Twitch, have streamers looking at other platforms like YouTube and the newer Kick streaming platform as alternatives. But for many who have spent many long hours building their community on the platform, it is a hard pill to swallow to just walk away and start all over again. For now, streamers on the platform will have to wait to see what changes Twitch makes as it "rewrites" its policy again.

Anyone who would like more information about the contentious changes to branded content can view them in full on Twitch's website. The streaming platform's TOS can also be viewed there as well.

**UPDATE 6/7/2023: Twitch tweeted earlier today in response to the outcry against its recent changes to branded content,  "We want to work with our community to create the best experience on Twitch, and to do that we need to be clear about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. We appreciate your feedback and help in making this change." Those changes can be viewed on the Twitch website here You can view the Twitter thread below and click on the image to be taken to the tweet itself.
twitch changes to bnanded content.