Twitch, the Amazon.com Inc.-owned live-streaming website, is weighing potential changes to how it pays top talent, said people familiar with the planning, an effort that would boost its profits but would also risk alienating some of its biggest stars.
The updates under consideration would offer incentives for streamers to run more ads. The proposal would also reduce the proportion of subscription fees doled out to the site’s biggest performers, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.
Some changes to Twitch’s monetization structure could be implemented as soon as this summer, the people said. Twitch staff is considering paring back the revenue cut of channel subscriptions granted to the top echelon of streamers in its so-called partnerships program to 50%, from 70%. Another option is to create multiple tiers and set criteria for how to qualify for each one, two of the people said. In exchange, Twitch may offer to release partners from exclusivity restrictions, allowing them to stream on Google’s YouTube or Facebook.
Updates to the partnerships program aren’t finalized and could be abandoned, the people said. A representative for Twitch declined to comment.
Viewership for live videos of people playing video games has exploded in recent years and has elevated a new class of internet celebrities. Twitch leads the market, but Amazon increasingly wants the site to make money over the long term. The unit has recently gone to work on new, profit-driven programs, but some employees have said the shift hurts its users. There has been an exodus in recent months of top and longtime employees who said Twitch has lost touch with its community’s needs, Bloomberg has reported.