Twitch is the king of live streaming at this point in the internet’s history, there’s no disputing that. Sure, there are many attempted competitors, but very few find much success. The likes of Mixer implode in disastrous fashion, while major competition like YouTube has to silently exit the gaming space. That doesn’t mean Twitch can rest on its laurels, they have to constantly innovate and attract new talent to stay on top. One way in which they’re doing that in 2022 is pretty major news. It turns out that Twitch exclusivity clauses are going away.
Yes, you read that right, you’re no longer totally bound to Twitch as a Partner. Most major Twitch streamers won’t be impacted by this, as they’ve already found a solution that works for them, and will likely continue doing it. But if you’re just getting into streaming as a Partner, this is something you need to know.
Twitch exclusivity clauses were the bane of many a streamer’s existence for years as the platform grew. The previous agreements locked the Partners to only streaming live on Twitch, and not any of their competitors. So that meant that streamers who wanted to try and nurture audiences on TikTok, Facebook Gaming and YouTube had to work around it. This often meant either ignoring those competing platforms entirely, or posting edited content to them. And it applied to more than just streaming content as well. Those who wanted to post VODs or edited compilations from stream footage had to wait out exclusivity periods where even the on-demand content couldn’t be posted to other platforms.
Now, Twitch has reversed course, and streaming Partners are open to multi-streaming in certain circumstances. They can also move their presence to live stream on other platforms. For instance, if you currently stream on Twitch, you will now be able to have a random stream on YouTube as well, if you wish. There are still some restrictions to keep in mind. To be more specific, Twitch has placed some restrictions on “web-based” streaming, which refers to platforms including YouTube and Facebook. The restriction is that Twitch streamers cannot multi-stream on any web-based platforms. That applies to other websites like YouTube.
Twitch says that this is due to the degraded quality of interactions with streamers’ communities, leading to a worse experience. They also obviously want to protect the sanctity and reach of their advertising agreements. Most Partners are required via their contracts to stream a certain amount of ads per month, and having that split across multiple platforms can be difficult to manage. It could also allow bad actors to exploit multi-streaming to violate Twitch terms of service around linking and other off-site activities. The one bright spot in this terms change is that multi-streaming is allowed on mobile-only platforms. Instagram Live and TikTok are the two examples commonly brought up which apply here.
And if you’re curious if this applies to you, it probably doesn’t. Unless you’ve signed a specific Partner agreement, you’re not reigned in by any Twitch exclusivity clauses. This includes Affiliate streamers, as well as those who just started out. If you’re not a Partner, you’ve never been bound by Twitch exclusivity clauses.
This doesn’t mean that Twitch is out of the woods yet. The problem of hate raids and content spam has only gotten worse, and there’s a lot of work to be done to improve the platform in other ways as well. But at the very least, this is a start.