Arguably the most popular livestreaming site in the world, Twitch, has surprise announced a new type of advert to play during broadcasts.
“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” writes the official Twitch support Twitter account.
Mid-roll ads, as you may have guessed by the name, happen in the middle of a video. These have long since been a part of other services like YouTube, but the live nature of Twitch makes these kind of interruptions more disruptive.
To mitigate this disruption Picture-in-Picture will activate for these ads. As explained here the streamer’s content will be minimised, muted and moved to a position above chat while the ad plays. Once the ad is over things will go back to normal.
Another important part of this new ad system is that it is mandatory. Kind of. As mentioned above they will not activate if a manual ad break has been done recently. That being said many streamers intentionally avoid ad breaks altogether, but the mid-roll system means it’s one or the other.
Because of these issues, and the fact that it was not announced beforehand, the pitchforks are already out. The Twitter replies to the announcement alone are plentiful and most of them make good points as this seems like a “money first, user experience later” change to the platform.
While streamers will be compensated for every ad that runs on their channel – mid-roll or otherwise – having it forced on them isn’t optimal.
For now we’ll need to wait and see how things pan out. Thankfully, while this is a public release of a new feature, it may change in the future.
“As we experiment and learn more about what works, we’ll communicate with our community and provide updates on our evolving ad experience,” reads the help page.
If you’re a content creator on Twitch or you want to know more about mid-roll ads as a viewer, check out the dedicated FAQ page.