Dear Content Creators: Twitch, You okay?

Dear Content Creators Twitch 4

Dear Content Creators,  

I need to talk to Twitch again. 

Dear Twitch, You okay? 

An awful lot has happened in the past couple of weeks. Announcements on your end that hurt you, stories uncovered and action from some of your biggest creators that put a lot of bad PR on you, and some pretty big announcements that make your biggest competition a lot more enticing. 

Dear Content Creators: Twitch, You Okay?

Let’s start with the last part of that. YouTube announced a number of big moves last week, pretty much all of which help their creators make money. The YouTube Partner Program is expanding to include Short’s creators. 1000 Subscribers remains the benchmark for any creator, but in lieu of 4000 watch hours, they have included ten million shorts views in a ninety-day period to also get you into the YPP.

Ten million is a big number, but when you look at some shorts, either on YouTube, TikTok or Instagram Stories, those numbers can be achieved with a few lucky viral shorts. Partners who earned their stripes the old-fashioned way (4000 watch hours) will also be eligible for a revenue share of Shorts.  

In addition, in 2023, they are making a lower level of the Partnership Program akin to Twitch’s Affiliate Program. They will not get ads, but will be eligible to receive Super Chats, Super Stickers, Super Thanks and Channel Memberships. There are a lot of ways for people to make a few bucks before they have made partner.  

DMCA problems have also been an issue, with people playing other people’s music and getting hit with DMCA strikes as a result. YouTube is introducing Creator Music: a library of licensable music (some free, some paid) for use in your content. If you choose to not pay for a license for a song, you can still use it, but will share revenue with the artist. Either way, you aren’t being demonetized for using the music found here. 

YouTube video

That was a lot. In a world where major creators are leaving Twitch already, all of this is added and makes a move to YouTube a lot more realistic. That should have been enough to be a bad week… but then… 

Let’s talk about Twitch gambling. Some prominent creators have spoken out against gambling on Twitch, citing reasons beyond morality, mainly that the ad sales on Twitch were hurt by the platform’s association with gambling and the ads meant for that demographic spread to people who don’t want anything to do with it. But things went into overdrive with the news of streamer ItsSliker scamming a lot of people out of money to help fund his gambling problem. 

“That was a lot. In a world where major creators are leaving Twitch already, all of this is added and makes a move to YouTube a lot more realistic. “

Creators became even more vocal against the practice of allowing gambling on the site, with creators like Pokimane, Mizkif, and Devin Nash among the most vocal. Twitch gave in and announced a ban on some forms of gambling, including slots, roulette, and dice games, but would continue allowing things like sports betting or poker. Some saw a win in this, others saw a half-way approach to a serious subject.  

But we imagine this was meant to be a big positive announcement to soften the blow of the announcement made the very next day. Top creators were about to take a hefty pay cut. Pay splits would drop from 70/30 (for those who have it) to 50/50 after they have hit the $100,000 mark. This doesn’t affect 99% of all streamers, so why should we care? Well, the top 1% just lost an average of 29% of their money on this announcement. This will likely chase more top creators off of the platform and further hurt Twitch as a whole.  

This will also guarantee less 70/30 splits for future partners, meaning a large amount of income lost on day one. The platform’s response was that they are focusing more on ads, which is problematic for many streamers who are in this top tier because a lot of their money comes from subscribers, none of whom get ads when they watch your channel, meaning where the company thinks the money is going to be made up, is not that much of a possibility.  

The scariest part of the announcement for many content creators was the fact that Twitch announced that it is too expensive to run the site. These are the statements that will make any creator on the fence about leaving, ready to hit the panic button. It was also announced that, on the same day as this announcement, a Senior Vice President announced her resignation from the company. 

So surely that would be enough to have a pretty bad week. Nobody was happy with that announcement. Not even people within the company. But then… 

On September 21, an article came out chronicling child predators using Twitch to seek out underage streamers. It noted nearly 2000 users who explicitly sought out underage girls and followed them on the site. Records of chats with these young teens and requests made of them are too much for me to want to talk about here.  

So prior to last week, there were plenty of valid complaints against the company. They weren’t innovating, they weren’t creating a discoverable platform to help its creators grow, and they were abandoning their community-based platform with one desperate to grab cash where they can. But in the last little bit, they’ve added a lot of other negative associations with their brand. All of them are too serious to ignore. 

So again, Twitch, I need to know. Are you okay? Are you going to be okay? If so, who do you want to be? 

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