Twitch Cuts Ad-Free Viewing Benefit From Prime Membership

Image: Twitch, Twitch Blog

New Twitch Prime members will no longer have access to ad-free viewing after September 14, the streaming platform Twitch announced today. Existing subscribers will still be able to watch streams uninterrupted until their next renewal date, at which point the ads will be inescapable for anyone who doesn’t sign back up for the site’s old premium service, Twitch Turbo.

“As we have continued to add value to Twitch Prime, we have also re-evaluated some of the existing Twitch Prime benefits,” reads a new blog post over on Twitch. The company explained the move by saying it would be better for independent creators:

“Advertising is an important source of support for the creators who make Twitch possible. This change will strengthen and expand that advertising opportunity for creators so they can get more support from their viewers for doing what they love. We want Twitch to remain a place where anyone can enjoy one-of-a-kind interactive entertainment, and ads allow us to continue making Twitch the best place for creators to build communities around the things they love and make money doing it.”

Twitch announced ad-free viewing streaming via Twitch Prime back in 2016, previously a perk exclusive to Twitch Turbo, an $US8.99 ($12) per month holdover from before Amazon purchased it.

Two years later the company is effectively reversing course. While Twitch Prime will still give away indie games to subscribers each month, as well as access to special emotes, the key value — watching Twitch without ads — has been removed.

Despite Twitch’s official explanation, it’s unclear why exactly - beyond being an easy way to boost revenue. As previously noted on the Twitch Prime Guide webpage, even though Prime viewers weren’t actually seeing ads, creators were still getting credit for the impressions as if they had.

Twitch did not immediately respond to a request by Kotaku for comment clarifying this point.

Along with that bad news, Amazon also announced that Prime members will no longer get 20 per cent discounts off pre-ordered new game releases either. Instead, beginning April 28, “Prime members will now get a $10 [$AU14] Amazon promotional credit when pre-ordering select games” that can be used on “almost anything” Amazon sells.

Like many people, I suspect, I have Twitch Prime because I have Amazon Prime. Like Amazon’s movie and TV streaming service and two-day shipping, the benefits of Twitch Prime are all wrapped up within the same $59 per year subscription. Now that those benefits being slashed, specifically in the area of gaming, Prime feels like more of a luxury than anything else.


Comments

    This change will strengthen and expand that advertising opportunity for creators so they can get more support from their viewers for doing what they love.Transl. "We (Twitch) noticed that we weren't getting as much money from viewers so we're making everyone subject to ads so we get a bigger slice of the pie while claiming it's for the creator's benefit so people don't catch on."

    It will be interesting to see what the outcome of this is. You can bet we'll hear very vocal outcries if it starts impacting the revenue of streamers since the removal of ads was one of the bigger incentives for people to use Prime subscriptions.

      And then everything was just pay TV.

        Pretty much. Was just discussing this the other week with mates how now, with everyone having their own 'streaming service', how is anything 'better than cable' anymore?
        15 bucks here, 10 bucks there, 20 bucks here, 10 bucks there. It adds up and before you know it, you're spending Foxtel levels of money for content repeated across multiple platforms :\

          Some friends the other day were saying something about how twitter doesn't make much money and youtube runs at a loss (no sources or anything to back up the comments), it got me wondering just how many free services there are going to be in the future if even the big guys can't seem to manage it.

            Anecdotally, YouTube is funneling viewers towards channels that it makes money from, leaving many 'independent' YouTubers to watch their content drop in visibility. When it comes down to it, the only way YouTube can survive long-term is to have creators go with either (a) YouTube Red; or (b) advertisement insertion in content. And down the track I think it'll likely be both.

    Stop watching people play games, and start playing games (and making your own experiences)!

      There are a lot of reasons to watch people play games though. Seeing if you like it before you fork out a lot of $$, seeing a walkthrough, watching someone play the game differently to how you do, being entertained, living vicariously through others because the game you want is not on your platform...

        Yeah... its almost 99% shallow reasoning. Sorry.

          Not at all, ive been genuinely interested in game on a platform that i dont own, so i check out a stream. People also speed run games, break games and its a community of people who chat to each other. I dont care for the chat at all but the other 3, yep

            I'll also add that watching a stream can be like watching a professional sport. You can watch some of the most skilled players play, for entertainment or to improve your own gameplay.
            Plus I don't always feel like gaming after work, so will chill out watching a stream instead.

          So researching future purchases in the name of not wasting money, entertainment, studying tactics, educating yourself and socialising are shallow reasons to watch someone play a game? Wow, by comparison then your gaming experiences must be ultra profound and life-altering.

            Its amazing, people state these reasons, but then you go watch most streams, and that simply isn't the case.

            Otherwise, how else do you explain the most popular streamers and their ad nauseum repeat playing of single games?

              Save it for your local rotary club meeting, granddad. "Bah, kids today, watching their Twitch and drinking their Coke Zero... in my day we played games and drank Pepsi MAX!"

              I mean, honestly. 20 years ago, adults complained about kids playing computer games instead of playing sports. Now, you're going to go ahead and pass judgement on the way a younger generation wants to recreate because you feel that their missing out on your recreation? Did you learn nothing about acceptance and tolerance from the movie Babe? Must we repeat the sins of our fathers? Can't we all just get along? ;P

                Couldn't care less what people do - but at least be honest about your vapid reasons.

                Playing a game instead of playing sports is bit a different to watching someone play a game instead of playing it yourself, the former's a choice between being an active participant in two different activities while the latter's a choice between being an active or passive participant in the same activity.

                  The argument made by parents in the 90s was that video games were more passive than sports. Are there differences between the 2 instances? Sure, sports-to-games and games-to-watching-games are not literally the same circumstance. But if you can't see the parallels then you are blind, and if you think you know better based on the conjecture that 'one is more passive than the other' then you are overly-confident, because history has proven that truth to be subjective once before.

                  @thepoetpyronius The argument was that sport is more *physically* active, not about how engaged children were in a given activity. Different kind of passive/active.

                  @mrtaco Same argument but phrased differently. As I said, they are not the same circumstance, however both instance focuses on varying degrees of passivity, less vs. more, quantified in whatever way. But if you can't see the parallels, then I wish you luck in whatever narrow minded endeavours you choose to focus on.

          "I don't enjoy that, or understand why anyone does, and even though it doesn't hurt me at all you should stop it!"

          That's about as shallow as it gets.

      Stop watching the NRL on TV and start playing first grade rugby league (and ruining your own knees!).

      Gee, aren't substitutions fun?

      I dont sub and watch channels because of what they play. I do it because of the person streaming. Their personality is what interests me. Not the game they play. You are clueless.

        And you need a life apparently.

          You need to remove your head from your anus and cease you holier than thou attitude. It only makes you look like a bigger dickhead.

        Fully agree man, I played Fortnite and didn't really like it because of the building. But I love to watch streamers play it because they make it interesting.
        I don't have Prime, but sub to CDNThe3rd because he is funny and entertaining.

      Stop watching action movies, go out and shoot someone and make your own experiences!

        In my day, it was kids jumping off roofs (Superman) or climbing under moving trucks (Indiana Jones). Sure, there were a few broken bones, permanent disabilities or occasionally a death, but dammit, they were good times!

          Pfft, amateurs...we were busy getting stuck in sewer drains! (TMNT).

    Ad free viewing was the only reason I considered Twitch Prime, now it is just Foxtel.

    Or...you could just install adblock for a nice, ad-free viewing experience. The only ads I see on twitch are the ones the streamers actually run as part of the stream itself. Same story with youtube.

      For some streamers/YouTubers, I turn mine off, as I want them to earn some money. But generally, this is what I do too. Sadly though, it doesn't work when you are chromecasting unless I am missing something.

      i only had it for the twitch app on my PS4 because ive had Ads play in the middle of a fucking tight startcraft match in the KSL and then watching VODs the Ads endup causing the Audio to desync from the video.

      If ads are going to be on a channel they must be played only during breaks and be an actual part of the broadcast, not an unskippable hijack like they currently are

    I read about this earlier, which reminded me I had a Twitch/Amazon Prime sub. I now no longer have one.

    I really don't get the concept of watching other people play games unless it's for instructional or informational purposes like a "let's play" or a review.

      Plenty of people watch esports. If you don't get the concept of gamers wanting to watch their favourite games being played at the highest level then I guess you also don't get why anyone would want to watch any sport ever.

      https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-cpVhoZRRTzM/Wgn8uIcoXdI/AAAAAAAABNU/aEXdmTImBOUtxDcvTOpwCporHvJacd15QCJoC/w735-h535/Sports_vs_video_games.jpg

        The amount of streamers who are objectively bad at video games puts this argument to rest.

          You'll notice I said esports. I'm not talking about your average let's player. I'm talking abotu pro gamers. These are not bad players. Quite the opposite.

            I missed the e in sports, and misread that you weren't talking about the idea that because some people watch pro sports that it's comparable to people watching regular gaming.

            That's on me, my bad.

          I guess there's a reason that all of the top DOTA streamers are, if not current or ex professional players, at least extremely good at the game. Same with Hearthstone - All of the top streamers are either pros or very, very good.

          Hell, I have never played Fortnite, but even I can tell that at least 50% of the audience right now are watching pros stream.

          Sure, if you go by the number of streamers then maybe the majority aren't very good... but the audiences tend to stick to the ones that are objectively very good at the game.

            Was a misread on my part, but I agree that there's an audience for pro-play.
            I personally don't like watching sports but I'm good for a highlight reel, seeing the best in the field do their work will always get eyes on.

            Was my mistake for misreading.

              Wait wait wait... we disagreed on the internet and through discussion we reached an agreement instead of degrading into a mud slinging competition?

              I don't think this has ever happened before.

        You're right, I don't get why anyone wants to watch sport, esports included.

        Sport wasn't what I had in mind when I made my comment though, I was imagining your average streamer acting like a fool while they play a computer game with viewers frothing in the comments spamming stickers and other crap.

          I agree that those kind of streamers are kinda lame...you can make the argument that the game they are playing isn't even the main focus of the stream, it's just their personality or online character they portray that viewers seem to like and the game is the way for them to utilise that.

          I tend to prefer to stick to watching pros play, and only in games I actually play myself - not just for the entertainment factor but also to learn and pick up some tricks along the way. If you actually play the game in question, you have a better understanding of the intricacies of it and you can better appreciate the immense amount of skill that's required to pull off what these players do.

        You're right, I don't get why anyone wants to watch sport, esports included.

        Sport wasn't what I had in mind when I made my comment though, I was imagining your average streamer acting like a fool while they play a computer game with viewers frothing in the comments spamming stickers and other crap.

        I generally find e-sports completely uninteresting to watch, even when it's games that I'm familiar with and play myself (also half the time I have no idea what's going on, again even if it's something I'm familiar with :P). I'll pretty much only watch something if people I personally know are involved, otherwise can't see any reason to take time out of actually playing something myself. Similar for sports actually, I was usually happy to watch one of my sister's soccer games but otherwise never really cared about any other matches.

      Have you used twitch before? I had your same mindset before one of my friends started streaming and I watched him to support him. And then I started watching a few other streamers and I completely changed my mind about it.

        From time to time I'll go on Twitch to see what all the fuss is about. I'll try watching randoms, super-famous streamers, and streams from people I know of. It never appeals.

    Twitch ads are just awful. They have no ad inventory so they usually just play the same ad over, and over, and over until you leave the site just to keep your sanity. Plus, as an added bonus, ads often used to break the stream!

    And just like that, Twitch Prime Membership has been canceled and i didnt even have it for a month

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