Streamers have been chastised for watching TV shows on Twitch while they are live streaming, but it’s possible that Twitch will add a ‘TV and Film’ category.
On Twitch, metas come and go. When a popular game or activity becomes popular, streamers of all sizes try to capitalize on the trend in order to attract viewers. Among Us’ popularity in 2020 is a great example of Twitch metas’ power, like the hot tub craze that led to Twitch’s Hot Tub streaming category being created. Some trends, such as the most recent meta, in which streamers watch TV shows and movies with their audiences, actively get streamers into trouble.
Several popular streamers have been barred from watching TV on the internet. Pokimane was banned for 48 hours for watching Avatar: The Last Airbender, while Disguised Toast was banned for a month for watching Death Note in front of a live audience. While this is mostly in line with Twitch’s DMCA enforcement, the streaming community’s newfound enthusiasm for watching TV and movies suggests that a TV and Film category could be useful. Twitch may decide that such a category isn’t worth the trouble, but many streamers would clearly enjoy carving out this niche.
A Twitch TV and Film category may seem far-fetched, but given how Twitch’s attitude toward new categories has evolved over time, it’s possible. Twitch used to be solely for gaming, and the platform went to great lengths to discourage non-gaming streams. Twitch added the Just Chatting category a few years ago, allowing streamers to interact with their viewers in a more casual way. Twitch has added a few non-gaming categories since then, including Pools, Hot Tubs, and Beaches for Amouranth and her hot tub meta, and Animals, Aquariums, and Zoos for Twitch’s animal lovers.
Given Twitch’s increased flexibility in terms of content creation, it’s possible that TV and Film will be added as a category. It wouldn’t be easy to create a category like that; Twitch staff and streamers would have to work out deals with video streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu, as well as film and TV distributors, to allow streamers to watch their content without violating copyright laws and triggering DMCA lawsuits. Netflix and other platforms could potentially earn a cut of Twitch’s revenue from streamers who use this category once a deal is in place, while content creators gain access to fun, new options.
Unfortunately, despite the severity of some of its bans, Twitch hasn’t shown much support for the TV meta thus far. In the long run, Twitch’s staff and streamers are unlikely to be able to navigate the paperwork required to convince TV and film distributors to support a TV and Film category. Rather than collaborating with streamers to turn TV and Film into a viable Twitch stream, it appears that Twitch will do everything it can to shut down this drive.
Unfortunately, the DMCA and copyright laws will most likely suffocate the TV meta. Reaction content is still popular on YouTube, but due to more extensive editing and commentary, it’s easier for YouTube videos to claim fair use.
A Twitch stream with less commentary and no way to change a TV show has few options for avoiding a strike. Twitch users shouldn’t expect a TV and Film category anytime soon, but it’s still a nice thought. Soon, Twitch streamers will be able to share their personal favorite shows with viewers without fear of being banned by Twitch.