Twitch’s latest ad initiative for a New Year's Eve broadcast event was met with incredible disdain from other content creators on the platform, but it sounds like the trend is likely to continue according to a former executive of the site.
The cross-promotional event between Twitch, Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins and the many sponsors queued up for the night’s festivities have taken precedence over what many feel was the main pull of the broadcasting site, and Former Twitch VP Justin Wong feels this could be the new norm.
In a series of tweets, Wong detailed what might have caused the streaming giant to “break” its policies on advertisements as it relates to companies who buy into ads and the individual streamer.
2/ Twitch's different policies for ad buyers and individual streamers will continue to break as individual streamers start to behave more like event companies renting their channels to brands. It's inevitable as streamers continue to command audiences larger than some events.— Justin Wong (@JustinWong) December 28, 2018
A recurring feature on smaller channels is its focus on community building and retained viewerships. But adverts such as the one employed by the NYE event will promote “channel-switching” which will go far to damage creators’ ability to foster unique audiences.
Wong made the distinction between event advertising and channel advertising, suggesting that Twitch’s main goal for the ad-roll and their overall strategy for commercializing the NYE event is to grow exposure for the site.
“So the strategy of pushing event advertising to Ninja's channel is a good thing. It's what everyone wants,” Wong said. “And since Twitch already runs advertising for other events as part of campaigns, I can see whoever put this together rationalizing ‘It's an event. It'll be fine.’”
13/ BTW, Ninja's innocent in all this. He didn't buy those ads. It's Twitch's fault they let this fester for as long as they have. Another consistently common criticism.— Justin Wong (@JustinWong) December 28, 2018
As controversial as the strategy might prove to be, Wong says that the move will inherently be a part of Twitch’s future as streamers garner larger audiences that ad agencies will want to buy into.
Ad policies that prioritize larger revenue growth over fostering community relations will continue to plague the site as Twitch continues to become more “Amazon,” according to Wong.
He believes the streaming site will continue to hurt itself as long as it makes its creators and audiences a secondary concern over revenue.