Twitch has recently introduced a series of changes to its terms of service that have sparked concerns from streamers regarding their ability to monetize and share their content. In this article, we'll shed light on the critical updates, the limitations on branded content, and the shift in multistreaming policies.
Current Twitch Branded Content Guidelines
Twitch's initial revamped terms of service proposed limiting streamers' ads within their content, including limiting sponsor logos' sizing to 3% of the screen size.
Twitch has since retracted this policy, initially set to become effective in July, and instead has focused their branded content guidelines on the need for disclaimers which is required by law regardless. To help streamers be more transparent about branded content, Twitch has instead implemented a branded content disclosure tool in the Creator Dashboard. You must use this tool when creating branded content.
According to Twitch, examples of branded content include:
- product placements
- sponsored gameplay or streams
- paid product unboxings
- channel sponsorships
- branded channel panel
- and brand logo stream overlays
On the other hand, the below isn't considered branded content according to Twitch's guidelines:
- wearing clothing that happens to feature a brand or product
- showing off equipment you recently purchased
- talking about your favorite restaurants
You do not need to use the branded content tool when:
- your offline channel page has panels promoting a brand or sponsorship
- you feature merchandise, memorabilia, or other products in your camera view but are not being paid to promote them
- you or your mods share affiliate links in response to questions from your community
- you mention a sponsor in passing when not actively promoting the product or service in exchange for payment
Prohibited Branded Content Categories
As you may have guessed, some categories of products and services are restricted as they may pose a “risk to members of the community.” Below are those products and services that would fall under these restrictions as they break Twitch Community Guidelines:
- products supporting hateful stereotypes or offensive slurs
- all illegal products and services, such as drugs, firearms, and counterfeit goods
- risky gambling products
- unauthorized sharing of private information, including products or services used to look up such information
- spam, scams, and any other malicious activities that disrupt Twitch services (including view botting, fake account creation, or selling Twitch accounts)
Additional products and services that aren’t allowed include:
- weapons of all types
- adult-oriented/sexually explicit products (however, reproductive services are allowed)
- tobacco and related products
- some financial products, such as Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), get-rich-quick schemes, and payday loans
- medical facilities and products
- political content
- cannabis-related products
Lastly, branded content for alcohol is allowed but with restrictions (namely, the content has to be marked as mature).
Twitch Simulcasting Updates
Towards the end of 2022, Twitch announced they would allow Partners to simulcast on short-form live stream platforms such as Instagram and TikTok (but not on Facebook and YouTube). Prior, Twitch Affiliates and Partners were not allowed to simulcast at all, but all other creators were permitted to simulcast without restriction. However, Twitch recently updated its terms of service to extend these restrictions to all streamers regardless of status. It’s important to note that TikTok is not giving out stream keys freely, which may be a barrier for those looking to take advantage of what simulcasting is allowed by Twitch.
What If I Decide to Leave the Twitch Affiliate Program?
If you decide to stop being a Twitch Affiliate, new changes will subject you to a maintenance fee of up to $25, where applicable. However, if your current account balance is less than this amount, you will not be required to pay Twitch the difference, but they will deduct your entire account balance. For example, if you have a remaining balance of $10, that $10 will be removed entirely as a maintenance fee.
What Should You Do As a Streamer Given Twitch Changes?
Utilize Other Forms of Monetization, Such as Tipping
It has become increasingly vital for streamers and viewers to explore alternative avenues to support their favorite creators. Tipping is crucial for streamers who depend on audience donations to keep doing what they love.
By asking your loyal fans to support your content monetarily and using creator-first tipping platforms such as Streamlabs Tipping (which does not take a cut of your tips), you can still bring in revenue without breaking guidelines.
Build your Presence on Other Platforms
Streamers must focus on building their presence on other platforms. As multistreaming is now limited to mobile-first platforms, streamers must actively engage with other streaming platforms to expand their reach and cultivate a dedicated audience. Diversifying your streaming presence beyond Twitch's boundaries (or any other platform, for that matter) is a great way to ensure your eggs aren’t in one basket and you can build a loyal following that transcends any platform’s limitations.
In the ever-evolving streaming landscape, adapting to changes and exploring new options is critical to thriving—and we’re here to support you all the way through. Stay tuned, as we’ll create a guide to help you discover ways to branch out to other platforms as a live streamer.