Ads are killing discoverability

It finally happened. I’ve seen multiple Ads on Twitch when opening different streams.

I’ll admit, I use Ad blocking in my browsers and I have for years. Ads seem to pervade all corners of the Internet now, and one of the biggest draws for watching content on Twitch was the ability to go ad-free.

All you had to do was have subscriptions to your favorite channels (provided they had ads turned off) or link your Twitch account to your Amazon Prime account. I haven’t tried Twitch Turbo, or whatever it’s called, because honestly I shouldn’t have to when I pay for Amazon Prime but that’s just my opinion on that matter.

Twitch has been working towards changing all this for the last couple of years by injecting ads straight into a channels data stream and circumventing adblocking softwares, and there are a few issues I’m seeing as a result.

The first issue revolves around what I already alluded to with Amazon Prime and subscriptions. Those seemingly don’t matter, and others on sites like Reddit share the sentiment that it’s bullshit. Why are we paying for these things just so Twitch can put ads in our face? The idea of cord cutting, and transitioning to services like Netflix and Twitch, was to get AWAY from ads. Ads are a disincentive now for these kinds of higher level services and their subscriptions.

The second and third issue are related by the fact that they impact streamers.

The second issue I see is more specifically about ads being a disincentive for people to want to watch streams at all, so they seek content elsewhere. Let’s face it, as much as people are hating on YouTube for their business practices of late, at least theres a skip ad button in most ads. This gives people the choice of what they want to do, watch the ad if it interests them or move on. Not an ideal solution but better.

The third issue, and one that hits close to home for me despite streaming being a hobby, is that ads are killing discoverability of streamers that are looking to grow. THIS is why I’m writing this entry and I was spurred on by a couple of comments I read on r/Twitch. People are becoming aware that ads aren’t going away and can’t be blocked so easily anymore. They’re getting frustrated that every new stream they navigate to will start with an ad and knowing this they’d rather go watch a larger streamer. Why? One reason is because the ads on the larger channel generally say they support the streamer, and not “This ad supports Twitch” and another reason is they probably have a sub to that streamer and won’t get ads anyway.

Although adblocking is losing its strength, for now, I also saw another comment that I found interesting. Some people have different adblocking strategies and software that are still effective to some degree. Rather than circumvent the ad, and go straight into the stream, it replaces it with nothing. Just a black screen. And they’re fine with that. They’re comment was literally about how they would rather see up to 30 seconds of a black screen than watch an ad at the start of a stream. This is not a great solution, but if it makes the viewer happy then cool.

I’ll say it again. Ads are killing discoverability. It’s unfortunate and counterproductive to some of the other initiatives that Twitch has been working on to increase discoverability of new and growing channels.

Good luck out there, folks.