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Twitch's biggest stars slam pay cut as the platform "hemorrhages millions"

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Twitch is at it again. A new report from Bloomberg claims the company is considering some significant changes to its partner program. The proposal would see Twitch take a larger slice of revenue from streamers and encourage more ad placement during streams. Both Twitch users and high-profile streamers are concerned these changes will make the experience worse on both sides.

What happened — One of the biggest takeaways of the Bloomberg report is that Twitch wants to take a bigger cut of revenue generated by its “top echelon” of streamers. Currently, some top creators take home 70 percent of their revenue, while Twitch claims the remaining 30 percent. These proposed changes would introduce a 50/50 revenue split for creators across the platform that’s more favorable to Twitch. (Many Twitch partners already have the 50/50 revenue split as the default.)

Bloomberg also claims Twitch might opt to “create multiple tiers and set criteria for how to qualify for each one.” That would essentially more clearly define the system that exists now, where individual creators with large followings can demand more generous rates.

In an attempt to increase ad runtime on streamer’s channels, the proposed plan would create a “revenue-sharing arrangement” according to Bloomberg. Similar to YouTube, this would give creators more income for choosing to run more ad breaks.

The concerns are two-fold: popular streamers might make less money, and more ads will diminish the viewer experience. Many streamers already rely on ads as a source of income, and cutting revenue share will likely make this more commonplace. After all, not all Twitch Partners are major names who can solely rely on streaming as a source of income.

The Bloomberg report also noted that “Twitch may offer to release partners from exclusivity restrictions, allowing them to stream on Google’s YouTube or Facebook.” But given that Twitch doesn’t have a whole lot of competition anymore, that “offer” probably means more work for less money for most creators.

Any changes to Twitch’s partner program (or at least part of it) might go live as early as this summer, per Bloomberg’s sources.

What top streamers say — The report was met with near-universal criticism by Twitch’s biggest personalities. Some are demanding Twitch be more generous — not less — with all its creators, large and small. Others saw the news as an opportunity to share their frustrations about the preferential treatment enjoyed by larger creators.

Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag, former Call of Duty pro and founder of 100 Thieves, isn’t a fan.

“Curious to see if those who signed exclusivity deals with minimum guarantees will speak out about this or if this will go with little push back from the top .01% of Twitch Streamers,” he wrote. “I love Twitch but beyond ‘no more exclusivity’ I think this would be a terrible decision.”

Hasan Piker, a left-wing political commentator on the platform, argued that Twitch was able to take advantage of creators due to the lack of any true rivals for the platform.

“Hate to say it but Twitch only makes moves like this because they think there is no competitor in the livestreaming space,” Piker tweeted. “Mixer is dead, [Facebook] is a black hole for relevance, and [YouTube] is too big to care abt livestreaming and too slow to change. They threw [money] at some creators and stopped.”

In response to Piker, fellow streamer Ludwig Arghen also pointed out that Twitch is apparently “hemorrhaging millions every month.” Arghen signed an exclusivity contract with YouTube late last year after breaking Twitch’s record for individual subscribers, making him one of the most prominent creators to abandon the Amazon-owned platform.

Imane “Pokimane” Anys, another of Twitch’s top streamers, also honed in on the increased ads.

Pokimane accepts an award in 2018.Craig Barritt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

“Twitch should just implement ads that don’t directly interfere with a stream (sidebar, picture in picture, underlay, etc),” she tweeted from her personal account. “I understand advertisers are essential to make a platform profitable, but intervening with the viewer’s experience isn’t how they should go about it.”

The Inverse Analysis — As Piker points out, Twitch is still the biggest fish in the streaming pond. The changes haven’t been implemented, but even the thought of them seems to have put streamers on edge. They could jump the ship to YouTube, many top names like Valkyrae, Ludwig, and TimTheTatman, have made the jump, but they risk losing viewership.

Representatives from Twitch did not respond to requests for comment from Inverse.

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