Twitch Changes Branding Policies, Streamers Up in Arms

Twitch announced major changes to its advertising and branding policy on June 6, 2023, which may cause trouble for the Amazon-owned streaming platform.

It seems that Twitch can’t stay out of the headlines for more than a few days as of late. Today, they dropped another bombshell on the streaming and gaming community by updating their branding guidelines pretty significantly — causing a stir amongst popular online streamers like Asmongold. 

Twitch Branding Controversy Explained

On June 6, 2023, Twitch amended the guidelines that oversee how streamers can advertise and make money on the platform. The biggest point of contention among most streamers are restrictions regarding “burned in” advertisements on their streams, whether those are banner, video, or audio ads displayed directly on stream with a platform like OBS or Stream Labs. 

Twitch Branding Restrictions

Most full-time streamers rely on advertisers outside of the ads they run on Twitch, with many of the top streamers sponsored by major gaming brands. These burned-in ads provide more income for the streamer, so they don’t have to rely on Twitch ads and donations from their fans. 

This change will restrict how and when streamers can display such ads — with these sponsorships being limited to the Channel Page, links, unboxings, showcasing the actual product on stream, or playing a sponsored game. Brand deals will also need to be disclosed through a new on-platform tool developed specifically for the changes. Not disclosing a brand deal can result in warnings or your channel getting banned.

The move to remove burned-in ads may significantly impact streamer earnings, which could hurt the platform if top streamers decide to leave for competitors, like YouTube, Kick, or Rumble — streaming platforms that have less stringent guidelines. 

In addition to these major changes, Twitch adjusted the types of content streamers can use on their platform as well, adding weapons, adult-oriented products or services, tobacco products, financial products, medical facilities, political content, and cannabis-related products to the restricted list. The changes will go into effect on July 1, 2023.

The Community Responds

Popular World of Warcraft and variety gaming streamer, Asmongold, recently responded to the change stating on Twitter

I don’t say it lightly but I think this is a legitimate situation where streamers should consider boycotting Twitch or moving to other platforms 

Making common and harmless forms of advertisement literally against ToS so Twitch can monopolize more of streamers income

Asmongold Tweet

Other streamers, notably a few from competitors, agreed with Asmongold’s sentiment. It will be interesting to see if other Twitch-exclusive streamers will also be vocal about the changes in the coming days. 

In addition to these guidelines, Twitch also created a new tool for streamers to use that will theoretically make it easier to identify branded content, called the Branded Content Disclosure Tool, though only time will tell whether this will be just another hurdle for streamers to jump through to entertain their audiences. 

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