Twitch pulls ad-free viewing on Prime service, draws ire from gaming community

Twitch has pulled the plug on the universal ad-free viewing on its Twitch Prime service for new members, effective 14 September 2018. In a post confirming the move, the platform explained that the change looks to “strengthen and expand” advertising opportunities for creators on its platform.

The move also comes as Twitch sets a target of US$1 billion in ad sales for the platform, according to Bloomberg. This amount is double that of its current sales amount.

“We want Twitch to remain a place where anyone can enjoy one-of-a-kind interactive entertainment, and ads allow us to continue making Twitch the best place for creators to build communities around the things they love and make money doing it,” the post added.

However, the move was called out by several members of the Twitch gaming community, with one pointing out that the move does not necessarily benefit creators directly. This is because only creators on the platform’s Partner program are able to earn ad revenue. Other streamers have taken to social media to tell subscribers to install ad blockers and also made the decision to turn off ads running on their streams.

Following the changes, current Twitch Prime members with monthly subscriptions will continue to get ad-free viewing until 15 October 2018. Meanwhile, members with an annual subscription will continue to get an ad-free viewing until their next renewal date. It also floated the option of existing members upgrading to annual subscriptions to continue their ad-free experience.

Twitch has also taken the opportunity to push its ad-free viewing alternative – Twitch Turbo, along with the option for Twitch Prime subscribers can to get channel-specific ad-free viewing by using their monthly subscription token on a channel that has ad-free viewing for subscribers turned on.

Twitch Prime is the platform’s premium offering providing an exclusive set of perks for Amazon Prime members. Housed with Amazon Prime and Prime Video memberships, features include bonus games, exclusive in-game content and a monthly channel subscription with no additional cost to be use on Twitch Partner or Affiliate channels, along with exclusive emotes and a chat badge.

It was first launched in 2016 and came two years after Twitch’s acquisition by Amazon for US$970 million, as the latter looks towards bolstering its video market share.