Twitch Issues Apology After Outcry Over Branded Content Changes

Streamers weren't happy when Twitch revealed new branded content guidelines that would cut into streamer revenue and impact charity streams and esports events.


Streamers are up in arms over a change to Twitch's Branded Content Guidelines, which bans "burned-in" video ads, audio ads, and banner ads, and limits on-screen logos to just 3% of screen size. After outcry from streamers, including some of the platform's biggest names, Twitch has released an apology, though hasn't yet clarified how the guidelines will be further modified.

The initial change was shared on Twitter by streamer Zach Bussey, showing a series of illustrations that demonstrate what will and won't be allowed under the new content guidelines.

Streamers immediately took issue with the changes, which would eat into revenue they are able to make from brand sponsorships--which is especially important after the controversial 50/50 revenue split came into play late last year. Major streamers spoke out against the changes, with many threatening to leave for other platforms instead of continuing to support Twitch.

Others pointed out that the change would have an even bigger impact on charity streaming, with many streamers using banners and overlays provided by charities to help promote the cause and raise more money for it. Esports events and big, one-off shows like The Game Awards would also see their sponsorship income greatly impacts.

Twitch soon issued an apology over the guidelines, stating that "today’s branded content policy update was overly broad." The thread explained that the purpose of the new guidelines was to "clarify our 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."

Twitch promised it would "rewrite the guidelines to be clearer," and would update the community when that was done. The previous set of guidelines is still live at the time of writing.

The streaming company later called a meeting with staff and Twitch ambassadors, some of whom have tweeted about what was discussed. Streamer StudyTme tweeted the clarification that "you can still have branded streams with graphics on stream, as long as you're aware of the specific ad that's running. The goal is to prevent third-party providers from showing random ads." StudyTme also added that Twitch was open to increasing the 3% screen share for logos.

In general, the ambassadors expressed concern that they weren't consulted about the change in guidelines before Twitch set them live, with Twitch agreeing to bring future changes to ambassadors to gather feedback before they're implemented.

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