YouTube and Twitch are gradually discontinuing certain big-money content deals with some of the leading live-streaming gamers in the world following years of collaboration and seven- and eight-figure partnership agreements.
In an interview with Bloomberg News at the Las Vegas-based TwitchCon conference, Dan Clancy, the CEO of Amazon’s Twitch, explained that the new strategy had created an actual bidding war. However, Mr. Clancy does not believe that was a sustainable business.
On the other hand, two individuals with knowledge of YouTube’s strategy who asked not to be named revealed that the online video-sharing and social media platform is also withdrawing from such partnerships. The video platform is reducing the size of its deals with top gaming live-streaming individuals and also cutting the length of the contracts it offers. So far, the company has not provided any commentary or details on the matter.
For more than three years, Twitch and YouTube have been rivals for inking partnership contracts with top gaming talents to bolster their live-streaming services. Both businesses figured out that paying up to stream live gaming content by video-game personalities who are already popular or social media influencers, would attract a large number of their fans to the platforms, which in its turn would boost advertising revenue.
Back in 2019, Microsoft tried to ink a contract with several popular gaming individuals, including Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, to its now inoperative Mixer website. Mr. Blevins later returned to Twitch.
Live-Streaming Platforms Face Criticism for Allowing Gambling Content on Their Channels
After a wave of criticism, the platforms seem to be willing to change their policies now.
Twitch stopped requiring exclusivity in its contracts with streamers of live gaming content last year. During its TwitchCon, the company revealed that streamers could now simultaneously broadcast on other platforms, such as YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok.
The operator’s chief executive officer previously sought to match other platforms. For the time being, there are still some streamers with custom deals at Twitch but Mr. Clancy explained that the company is doing its best to significantly reduce their number and is moving toward standard terms of its partnership contracts, except for a very small contingent of live content creators.
A few streamers confirmed there was a decline in their live audiences after they left Twitch and started broadcasting their content on YouTube. Some have returned to Twitch from other platforms. The reason for the decision is simple – while YouTube is bigger in size, Twitch is widely considered the leader in gamers’ live streams, having become a pioneer in the sector, along with Justin.tv – its predecessor that started operation in 2007.
A few years ago, in 2018, Twitch reportedly paid $90 million to Activision Blizzard for the exclusive rights to stream its Overwatch League for a couple of years. Viewership gradually diminished in size after YouTube took over those rights after the deadline of Twitch’s two-year contract.
Reportedly, the niche streaming service Kick has offered large-scale deals for non-exclusive streaming rights. In June 2023, the New York Times reported that the popular streamer Felix “xQc” Lengyel signed a $100-million contract with the platform where he is able to stream gambling and gaming content.