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Twitch has begun a new advertising experiment, incorporating automated mid-roll ads for some viewers. Twitch Support announced the change via its Twitter account on September 14.
🔬 Starting today, we'll be testing automated mid-roll ads for some viewers. These ads will directly support the Creator and won't run if the viewer has had an ad break in that channel recently. Your feedback is welcomed to help shape this feature!
— Twitch Support (@TwitchSupport) September 14, 2020
Throughout September, any viewer will be able to receive ads in the middle of watching a livestream. These mid-roll ads will not necessarily appear for every person viewing the Twitch channel. While Twitch already triggers pre-roll ads, this is its first attempt to force ads to play for someone who is actively watching a stream.
Like all other advertising on Twitch, the mid-roll ads will directly support whichever streamer the viewer is watching. Likewise, subscribers and Turbo users will not have to see these ads. Notably, the mid-roll ads will never run if the viewer has recently had an ad break in that channel. However, Twitch has not yet specified what “recently” means. In addition, viewers can still watch the stream during a mid-roll ad break thanks to the Picture-by-Picture function, which is now in effect for all categories.
Community members respond to Twitch mid-roll ads
The announcement of mid-roll ads has been met with largely negative feedback from the Twitch community. Many have noted how intrusive these ads could be, and how they could harm the viewing experience for fans. Some have even parodied the announcement, taking clips of iconic esports moments and interrupting them with ads.
Ok, Twitch, let's talk reality here…
You need more ad revenue. It's clear. But forcing it on your community like this is the worst way to go about this. You're much better than this. Incentivize, gameify, encourage more ads. Get the community behind it.
No. 😐 https://t.co/Gao7cE8mUM
— Cohh Carnage (@CohhCarnage) September 15, 2020
if I don't play enough ads jeff bezos literally comes to my stream and pushes the ad button what do I do https://t.co/EzUF6TQjow
— Brandon Larned (@A_Seagull) September 15, 2020
Welcome to the future of esports. pic.twitter.com/J3wNQQM3E5
— Esteban Martinez (@TheBesteban) September 15, 2020
Twitch has stated that it is welcoming feedback in order to help shape this new feature over time. As a result, in its current state it is nothing more than, as-stated, an experiment. A request to suspend this experiment is currently the top suggestion for improving Twitch’s ad experience, at over 3,000 upvotes. Given this overwhelming criticism, it seems more likely than not that the feature will receive adjustments in the future.
Dylan Tate is an alumnus of the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a gaming journalist with a love for Nintendo esports, particularly Super Smash Bros. and Pokémon.