A new feature that some Twitch streamers have accurately predicted is soon coming to the site. The option to restrict streams to Twitch subscribers only and block non-subscribers is being tested out. The feature appears to be implemented for the sake of pay-per-view esports tournaments. However, it could very well give streamers access to this feature as well.
Twitch is testing subscriber-only live streams. No official announcement yet, but we'd expect one soon. Check out a preview at https://t.co/E7w9uxZ4LH
— Streamer News (@StreamerNews) May 27, 2019
The new feature that is being tested on the channel, “hgg_cheering_test,” gives non-subscribers a short preview. Similar to a movie trailer before paying to watch a movie, streamers could force viewers to subscribe to unlock the content. One such streamer, Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek, mentioned in a prior stream how this would be a likely future for Twitch.
Currently, non-paying viewers only generate income for the platform through the viewing of ads, but this is often subverted using an ad blocker plugin. By restricting certain streams to paying customers only, this will help increase both content creator and platform revenue. However, this will also turn away viewers who do not want to or cannot pay for a monthly subscription.
Twitch subscriber benefits
Subscribers get multiple benefits that include a subscriber-only chat on some channels at the moment. They can also skip ads that non-subscribers are required to view, as well as use special emotes. Twitch subscribers further receive a variety of access to games and in-game loot that varies depending on the week.
Many in the community have reacted negatively to this feature. The subscriber-only testing does not even impact the platform’s audience at the moment, though.
The current feature is only being tested to apply toward the Hearthstone Global Games, which can be seen by the emotes available. The Hearthstone Global Games features players from multiple countries that compete against each other. The emotes available on the subscriber-only testing channel also are country-specific.
However, the feature is probably on the roadmap for future implementation. In a staff meeting during 2018, Twitch CEO Emmett Shear set a target of $1 billion in ad revenue. To reach such a goal, the company will have to appeal to advertisers and ensure better ad conversion.
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