Twitch’s decision to end the ad-free viewing experience on its Twitch Prime subscription service has been met with near-universal dismay among streamers.
Twitch announced that the policy reversal will come into effect on September 14, in a blog post. The company said: “As we have continued to add value to Twitch Prime, we have also re-evaluated some of the existing Twitch Prime benefits. As a result, universal ad-free viewing will no longer be part of Twitch Prime for new members, starting on September 14. Twitch Prime members with monthly subscriptions will continue to get ad-free viewing until October 15.”
It justified the decision by adding: “Advertising is an important source of support for the creators who make Twitch possible. This change will strengthen and expand that advertising opportunity for creators so they can get more support from their viewers for doing what they love.”
But those creators have queued up to denounce the move. Justin Wong, an ex-Twitch VP, tweeted “I overlooked this. Partners don’t see any direct benefit from the Twitch Prime ad-free removal. There are possibly indirect benefits depending on whether viewers will subscribe to avoid ads. In other words, the “benefiting creators” schtick is BS.” Twitch streamer QuirkeyGeek 17 chipped in with: “While you’re deciding what to do, keep in mind that *currently*, only Partners get ad revenue. Ads everywhere else earn money for Twitch. “More money for content creators!” Not really.”
Other streamers have responded to the move by encouraging their viewers to install ad-blockers, running directly contrary to Twitch’s intention behind the move, which is to allow it to increase its ad revenue. Streamer Robert Moran, for example, tweeted “Twitch is changing prime benefits so you have to see ads again. This is dumb and a waste of your time. Please install an ad blocker if you watch my content on Twitch/Youtube because ads are a waste of your time and I have no interest building a business off ad dollars.”
Streamer Renee Reynosa, who recently left Twitch to move to Mixer, which is currently ad-free, tweeted “IMO, removing ad-free viewing is just going to encourage streamers to not run ads. I feel like ads only benefit larger streamers in the 1000+ viewer range who are likely not going to miss the handful of viewers who leave when they see an ad.”
With Twitch alternatives like Mixer on the rise, Twitch is playing a dangerous game by alienating the talent that sustains it in search of bigger profits. We’ll keep you updated with any developments to the controversy.