While Twitch’s TV show meta is seemingly coming back to bite risky streamers, these bans might be a new strategy for the platform’s largest creators.
If you haven’t visited Twitch in the last couple of months, you might not be familiar with the platform’s TV show meta. Essentially, xQc popularized watching copyrighted TV shows on Twitch despite not having permission from any networks.
It may sound backward, but tens of thousands of viewers would attend his streams, and those of many others, to watch the streamer watch TV. While some broadcasters refused to join in on the meta, others made even riskier plays by making events out of watching TV on stream.
The fear of DMCA bans loomed over the platform, but it wasn’t until Pokimane and DisguisedToast were actually banned that these threats became reality. But is getting banned really all that bad if it comes with massive exposure?
Risking it all for maximum views
Pokimane was banned on January 8th after watching Avatar: The Last Airbender on stream. Tens of thousands of fans joined her 10-hour watch party, only for it to end with a 48-hour suspension – a slap on the wrist compared to the rumored “DMCA permaban” she could have received.
Willing to take the same risk, DisguisedToast hosted his own watch party of the popular anime Death Note. While streaming to thousands of viewers, DisguisedToast was hit with a one-month ban after reaching episode 25.
With a punishment as severe as a one-month ban, this could surely put an end to the TV Show meta… or will it?
Remember when FaZe Jarvis returned to Fortnite after having been permabanned for using cheats? Tens of thousands of viewers flocked to his stream to see if Jarvis could effectively play while avoiding being banned again. Ultimately, he and the FaZe boys ate an I.P. ban. In exchange, he made headlines and Twitter’s trending page, which boosted his exposure on the internet.
Playing DMCA roulette for clout
Even after Poki was banned, DisguisedToast made the decision to proceed with his watch party. Why? A lot of people in the Twitch community believe it was a way for Toast to effectively ‘farm clout.’ He knew he was going to be banned, but he made the same gamble as Poki and Jarvis, anyway.
This is risky, but it could ultimately pay off if a streamer plays their cards right. If you make an event out of playing Russian Roulette with copyrighted content, tens of thousands of viewers might tune in just to see what happens.
You could maintain thousands of viewers and receive a slap on the wrist at the end of it all. Or, you could be putting your streaming career at risk. It all boils down to how large your stream is, and what your situation is like with Twitch. After all, Poki and Toast were playing this game with a bullet-proof vest.
The risk of the Ban Meta
As Amouranth explained to Ludwig, watching TV shows on stream is too risky for some streamers. “I feel like, while people who have contracts with Twitch and stuff or are favored heavily by Twitch can get away with that, it’s too risky for me to do it,” she stated.
It’s no surprise that Twitch favors its more lucrative or brand-friendly creators. Its behemoth streamers can get away with much more, solely because they draw in more viewers. Pokimane and DisguisedToast fall into this category.
Poki and Toast were likely pretty confident that they wouldn’t suffer any major repercussions for watching TV on stream. And even if they did, they have OfflineTV and healthy YouTube channels to fall back on.
But smaller or more controversial streamers might not have this same luxury. Sure, DisguisedToast probably didn’t expect a month-long ban after Poki’s 48-hour suspension. But is a month of forced vacation really that bad?
The rewards of the Ban Meta
Other than an increase in viewers while tempting the DMCA fates, there are other reasons the DMCA ban meta may seem appealing. As we just mentioned, banned streamers get to take a vacation without the fear of their viewers getting mad. Playing the pity card so your viewers sympathize with you is also an effective strat to avoid backlash.
This month off can also be used to transition into a rebranding. Streamers can take half the month off, and then hype up their return for a monumental comeback stream.
Conversely, there is a chance that a month away from streaming could hurt a streamer’s viewership. However, some streamers have seen a record number of viewers when returning after a long break (i.e. Shroud with 500k, Dr Disrespect with 300k).
Should you get banned on Twitch?
Before you go booting up your stream and scrolling through the Netflix catalog, you need to weigh the pros and cons of this potential ban meta. Ask yourself: Are you a streamer Twitch can’t afford to lose? If you average less than 1,000 viewers per stream, the answer is no.
The current punishment for streaming TV shows is a one-month ban, but that doesn’t mean Twitch won’t resort to permabans. And if you aren’t in Twitch’s good graces, you could be the first to lose your spot on the platform for good.
But it’s hard not to want to test the waters when you see the numbers streamers like Poki and Toast are pulling. Even the initial reports of their bans are netting them a ton of exposure.
In short, getting banned for watching TV is an extremely risky tactic, but it might be the new meta. Larger streamers lead by example, and who wouldn’t want a slice of that pie. And until the ban meta suffers a real casualty, you can expect to see more streamers in headlines farming clout from watching TV.