Bought by Amazon earlier this year for almost $1 billion, it would be an understatement to say that video streaming site Twitch is a big deal. Primarily used for gamers and game industry figures to showcase or talk about the games that they’re playing, Twitch is so popular that in March of this year it accounted for 1.35% of all North American bandwidth usage.
But the road to that billion dollar buyout wasn’t without its stumbles. Just a few months ago Twitch instated a new audio policy in which archived streams featuring unauthorized music would be muted for half an hour, while the ‘Save Forever’ archiving option was cut down to just ‘Save for Two Weeks’.
Although this disgruntled users, Twitch made the move to deter lawsuits and cut server costs (according to them, most archived content is never viewed again) and remove two thorns from their side in the process. But now, with the announcement that they’ll be more transparent with ad campaigns, both Twitch and its users may have found a policy change to agree on.
Twitch has altered its policy to explain that “Twitch driven campaigns” will now be labelled more clearly. The platform is already used for advertising in which companies can have “Influencers” (popular streaming figures) talk about or play their games and under the previous policy it was up to the individual to disclose that but this just makes this clearer.
Twitch wants “complete transparency and unwavering authenticity with all content and promotions that have a sponsor relationship” and they’re going to achieve this by labeling promotional content appropriately. Both sponsored channels and sponsored content featured in the Twitch newsletter will be labelled which will surely go a long way to avoiding any confusion about who is working with advertisers or not.
Furthermore, Twitch says that “when part of a sponsored campaign, the relevant Twitter update will be clearly identified with appropriate “Brought to you by” language, or amended with ^SP, to denote a “sponsored tweet” and this is already being rolled out on their Twitter (as demonstrated here).
Where the problems may come in however, is that as explained, this is only relevant for “Twitch driven campaigns”. This means that deals that have been cut without Twitch and have instead been put together directly by the advertiser and the streamer won’t fall under this new policy, nor will they have access to those swish, easy to identify banners.
Unfortunately this means that the onus will remain on the individual streamer to disclose promotional content – something which doesn’t always happen. Allowing streamers with non-Twitch driven campaigns to use those sponsored content banners would certainly be a good next step for the service, especially if they want to avoid advertiser/influencer nastiness as demonstrated by the Steam Curators feature.
However Twitch did note that streamers are legally required to disclose this information under FTC ruling so for now this will have to do.