Twitch will go through a “blackout” this Monday (23). A group formed by small and medium content creators of the platform promised to carry out a strike, suspending broadcasts throughout the day.
The appeal also asks viewers not to access the site that hosts live broadcasts. The “Blackout of Twitch” is inspired by the outages of drivers and delivery people of apps like Uber and iFood.
— Twitch blackout 08/23 (@apagaotwitch) August 23, 2021
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Organizers remain anonymous, but the movement has gained prominence on social media in recent days. On Twitter, the account that releases information about the streamers’ strike charges more transparency about the fees applied by the platform to content creators, a resolution for hate attacks in chats during broadcasts and a review of the relationship with the Amazon service.
At the heart of the protest is the noticeable reduction in revenue that a portion of streamers face after Twitch dropped the subscription fee paid by the public. The subscription guarantees the viewer exclusive benefits on the channels, such as emotes and the possibility to follow the lives without ads.
The value of the “sub”, abbreviation for subscription, went from BRL 22.99 to BRL 7.90 in the most basic option at the beginning of the month — called group 1. The change was favorable to the Brazilian consumer, but hit the mark. the growing content creators on the platform, who have seen their subscription earnings drop by as much as 60%.
Twitch’s monetization vice-president, Mike Minton, declared, in an interview with Globo Esporte, that the new price list for the Brazilian market considers values practiced in the country, such as the price of a coffee or a Big Mac, in addition to what is charged today for an Amazon Prime subscription.
According to Minton, countries that have already gone through this transition have seen an increase in revenue for streamers with the growth in the volume of subscribers. During the move, Twitch announced a compensation package to mitigate the negative effects for creators.
The platform will average earnings from the previous three months and compensate streamers who experience revenue reductions for a period of one year — fully in the first quarter, 75% in the second, 50% in the third and 25% in the fourth.
However, in the medium to long term, without an employment or contract with Twitch, content producers who rely on ad views or subscriptions fear that the revenue generated by the platform will become an issue.
The reduction has put pressure on streamers who, overnight, will need to triple the number of subscribers to keep their subs earnings before the value changes.
How much does a streamer get?
A streamer receives, on average, US$ 0.40 (US$ 2.10) for each subscribed to a channel on Twitch with the new values. Before the reduction, the transfer was close to R$ 6.80 for each subscriber.
A content creator on the platform, Left Gamer profile calculated that content producers need 523 subscribers to reach a minimum wage of R$1,100 per month currently.
The number of subscribers is high and requires investment of time, material and creative capital to cultivate a community willing to pay to watch the channel. Opening his numbers, Left Gamer wrote that it took him more than a year to generate $100 on the platform, about R$536.13, with entries and views. The streamer profile has approximately 15 thousand followers on the platform.
or other complementary ways to earn income, such as fundraising campaigns (catharsis, support, etc), publis, youtube channels, and other platforms.
In other words, a very high number of subscribers IS NOT THE REALITY OF 99.9% OF STREAMERS, MAINLY BRAZILIANS
— Left gamer (@left gamer) August 14, 2021
“And here it is good to add an addendum: We only received R$ 2.10 because the dollar is currently very high. If our economy returns to normal (and we hope it will, although it doesn’t seem to be a near reality), our earnings will be even smaller and we will need even more subscribers!”, detailed Left Gamer on Twitter.
In addition to taking a portion of what each subscriber pays, Twitch also applies a 30% tax on the total earnings of content producers to the US government.
An attempt at dialogue with the Amazon website to end this tax, considered double taxation for Brazilians, was initiated with the platform by União dos Streamers, a group formerly called the Streamers Union and headed by Pipoca and Daniel “danielhe4rt”.
We are almost reaching the mark of 3,000 streamers who signed our manifesto
We are now sure that we have many people affected by the changes at Twitch, and we ask that our demands be heard.
If you still don’t know us, visit our website: https://t.co/tpp5FQTUjK pic.twitter.com/zvxtkiB29h
— Union of Streamers (@uniaostreamer) August 20, 2021
As a union, the movement emerged demanding the end of the 30% fee passed on by Twitch. With the advance of the days (and of the controversies), the speech changed.
In a press conference, the duo Picoca and danielhe4rt defended the change of the former union’s name to avoid what they called a wave of polarization and political criticism. Content producer danielhe4rt advocated a more peaceful tone in dealing with Twitch.
“One of the things we did today was change the idea of Twitch itself bending down and meeting our demands, we want to have a dialogue, we want to be heard, so we made some changes so that we can get these people to join. For everyone who has already signed, it is very clear what we are looking for. We want to be listened to. In a formal way, we made these changes, and if necessary, they continue, if not, they take the signature, since we have the preparation for this”, explained danielhe4rt, according to the GE.
Amid the change of tone, the Union of Streamers announced that it will not participate and support the “Blackout” this Monday.
— Union of Streamers (@uniaostreamer) August 18, 2021
Small and medium streamers felt the changes most
Also not expected to join this Monday’s Blackout is the world’s third most popular electronic sports streamer on Twitch.
The Brazilian Gaules, who gathered more than 3.65 million hours watched in transmissions between June and July 2021, disagreed with the movements that demand better relationships between content producers and the platform, during a live on his channel.
For the 2.9 million-follower streamer, those who work with live, need to reinvent themselves and look for ways to reverse lost revenue. Gaules defended Twitch, arguing that content creators are partners and not employees, so they can’t charge the site for better conditions, but rather, “fix it.” The speech was criticized on social networks:
For those who were waiting for a pronouncement from “big people” about streamers earning less, there you go kkkkk
Jeff Bezos is not my boss people, he is my PARTNER
And if you’re earning less, reinvent yourself or get off the platform lol because I’m good here with my sponsorships pic.twitter.com/IVMJtUmUbZ
— Left gamer (@left gamer) August 17, 2021
In fact, the changes in Twitch’s value are unlikely to significantly hit Gaules and other streamers with impressive numbers of views. In addition to relying on external sponsorships, large streamers have a large number of followers, which can potentially become subscribers by reducing the value of the sub.
But that’s not true for smaller streamers, who maintain a close numerical relationship between followers and subscribers, and slower organic growth.
Journalist and content producer with 2,700 followers at Twitch, Pedro Sciarotta (PSPedroAoVivo at Twitch) analyzed the change in values. Initially, Sciarotta welcomed the reduction in subscription prices.
“The previous registration fee [R$ 22,99] it was unfeasible for anyone watching and not subscribing to Amazon Prime. It was very rare to find someone who paid the R$23 monthly sub,” said Sciarotta in conversation with the Canaltech.
However, the impact of the change was felt over time. “On the first day it was just joy, with several inscriptions as a gift. But overall, the number of new subscribers was not enough to match the revenue I saw before. It is not easy and fast to grow a community and gain new subscribers”, he reported.
Regarding Gaules’ opinion, who preached reinvention to reverse the crisis, Sciarotta expressed: “It is very easy to say that now we have to work to increase, even tripling, the number of subs in order to have the same income as before. In practice, it is almost impossible to be done in the short term”.
“Don’t sub, make a Pix”
With no solution on the horizon, an alternative for content producers has been to find and ask followers for other ways to contribute. In addition to bit requests, a kind of platform tip, in lieu of subscriptions, many streamers have used their own Pix key to collect donations from viewers and subscribers.
The practice does not deliver the benefits of the sub, but guarantees a gain for the content producer without platform discounts.
The phrase “don’t sub, make a Pix” can be found more and more in live titles, while the !Pix command in chat is configured to disclose the key for transfers.
Source: GE, MGG
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