Twitch Prime Changes
Twitch announced plans to overhaul their Twitch Prime service yesterday, removing the ad-free experience for subscribers who use the Prime benefit. Starting September 14 viewers who are not subscribed to channels will view ads, yet will still receive other subscriber benefits such as emotes and sub badges.
In their blog post about the coming revisions, Twitch gives insight into their reasoning stating “this change will strengthen and expand [the] advertising opportunity for creators so they can get more support from their viewers for doing what they love.” Many of the other benefits from Twitch Prime like free monthly subscriptions, monthly in-game loot, and free games will go unchanged. Twitch has also made it clear that the ad-free viewing experience is still possible with a subscription to “Twitch Turbo”.
These changes have since rippled through the communities of content creators and viewers, many forming their own opinions on the subject. Overall many viewers have become frustrated, sighting that these changes are less about creators and more about generating revenue for Twitch and their parent company Amazon. New subscriptions to Twitch Turbo and running ads where there previously were none will help meet new sales targets, they argue. Many threads on Reddit and Twitter have users stating their frustrations, saying they will turn to ad-blockers to continue their regular experience after these changes.
Content creators also have built up some negative opinions towards the subject. Streamers have gone to Reddit to argue that the majority of their income is not from ads but through subscriptions, direct donations, and Twitch’s bits system (another form of donation). Others say that many of their users where “running ad block anyway”.
It is too early to tell if these changes will have as dramatic an impact as some community members and streamers are describing. On one hand it’s clear that Twitch is making these changes in response to capitalize on significant portions of lost revenue – some of which will be shared with creators. On the other, its difficult to tell what sort of impact this change will have on overall viewership, if at all. With other streaming platforms and publisher controlled broadcast ventures popping up it will be interesting to see if creators and consumers will steadily make their way over to them, leaving Twitch behind.
Lakers, Timberwolves, Hawks, and Nets join NBA 2K League's second season
Brandon Curran, Iannis Court•@CatalystSM
Last Wednesday, as playoffs started, the NBA 2K esports league announced that it will add four more NBA franchises for its second season tipping off in 2019: the Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets. Those franchises will field 2K teams for the first time and bring the league’s membership to 21. The four expansion teams’ gaming names were not yet announced. According to NBA 2K League managing director, Brendan Donahoe, these teams’ “innovative spirit and global reach” will represent a “tremendous addition” to the league.
The addition of four expansion teams highlights the strong first season for the NBA 2K League. The Lakers, Hawks, and Nets represent three big market franchises. Their desire to join the league shows that the NBA and 2K have done a solid job illustrating the short and long term value of being in this league. With a Los Angeles club finally on board, Houston is now the largest NBA market without a 2K team. During the NBA 2K League Draft in April, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he expected all thirty NBA franchises to have affiliated 2K teams by the third year of the 2K League. As a reminder, the league only expected 8 to 12 franchises to opt in a year ago.
Despite the questioning about the league selection process’ fairness, the 2018 season continue to develop and finish strong. The league has seen its average unique viewership grow from 137,168 to 284,250 fans in June. In total, fans have spent more than 761,000 hours watching the NBA 2K League this season. The league’s success can be attributed to the high production quality of the studio and signature events like the Draft and The Turn, the League’s first mid-season tournament, which set a single-day viewership record when it drew 433,391 unique viewers. Additionally, teams like the Sacramento Kings, have done as excellent job creating ancillary content to develop and engage fans, as seen with their beautiful gaming house that was used to produce several videos.
Despite initial issues, the NBA has shown with the NBA 2K League that it can run and grow an esports league. As the league continues to develop, the NBA will look to take on additional games and use their robust multi city infrastructure, marketing, and sales teams to entice publishers to use their platform.