On Twitch there are different types of advertising, but one of the most annoying and the one that has generated the most rejection among the community is the pre-roll. In advertising terms, a pre-roll ad is one that plays before the content itself. In the case of Twitch, several spots can come together before you can even see if a streamer’s content is interesting or not, and the new Twitch CEO wants to get rid of them.
How Twitch works. When the user enters Twitch, the platform suggests that they see both the streamers they follow and other users that may interest them. The problem is that, when you click on a streamer who is broadcasting at that moment, the first thing that Twitch (and YouTube and many other platforms, let’s say that) does is play one or more ads before allowing you to view the content.
For new streamers it is complicated. These ads allow streamers (and Twitch) to generate revenue, but create enormous friction when discovering new creators. This is stated by the new CEO of Twitch , Dan Clancy. In his own words: “I don’t think that’s the right experience when you’re trying to discover new content. When you’re watching and you’re like ‘oh let me check this out’ and you get an ad that inhibits you from finding new streamers.”
The new versus the unknown. Twitch is a very competitive platform and, as such, it is difficult to stand out and gain a foothold. YouTube has a built-in search engine and allows channel discovery through specific searches and the suggested system, but on Twitch it’s more complex. A user may be willing to see ads in exchange for seeing their trusted streamer, but not to discover new content or creators they might be interested in. It’s the difference between seeing something you already know you’re going to like and something you don’t.
Solution: Look for other options. Clancy himself admits having had to face these ads when discovering smaller channels. Thus, and being aware of the problem, the new CEO of Twitch has explained that “we currently have some tests underway and soon we will launch some things that really move away from the pre-roll ads when people try to discover new channels.” First they will disappear from the channels that we have never seen and, ultimately, they will disappear from the rest of the channels.
Popular ads at the least sweet moment. That the CEO of Twitch made this announcement makes some sense, since Twitch is not going through its prime. The platform reached its peak in the pandemic and has failed to grow since. There is a lot of competition, see TikTok, YouTube and the controversial Kick, and decisions have also been made that have not entirely satisfied the community of creators. Breaking this news could help Twitch come back, but we’ll see.
It is not the first time. It is true that the fact that it is the CEO himself who makes this announcement is important, but it is not the first time that Twitch has promised this. Back in late 2022, Mike Minton, Twitch’s head of monetization, said, “Nobody wants to see a pre-roll ad when they’re trying to find new streamers. So we need to remove ads from the discovery experience to help more people to find streamers.”