Metas come and go on Twitch. When one particular game or activity becomes popular, streamers big and small try to get in on the craze to draw viewers. Among Us' surge in popularity in 2020 is a great example of the power of Twitch metas, as well as the hot tub craze that led to the creation of Twitch's Hot Tub streaming category. However, some trends actively get streamers in trouble, like the newest meta in which streamers watch TV shows and movies with their audiences.
A couple of major streamers have been banned for watching TV on stream. Pokimane got a 48-hour ban for watching Avatar: The Last Airbende, meanwhile Disguised Toast got a heftier month-long ban after watching Death Note in front of a live audience. While this is largely in-line with Twitch's enforcement of DMCA rules, the streaming community's newfound enthusiasm for watching TV and movies suggests that there could be value in a TV and Film category. Twitch may decide that such a category is more trouble than it's worth, but lots of streamers would clearly enjoy setting this niche in stone.
Hope for a New Twitch Category
A TV and Film category on Twitch may sound outlandish, but considering how Twitch's attitude toward new categories has changed over the years, it might be plausible. Years ago, Twitch was strictly for gaming, and the platform went out of its way to discourage non-gaming streams. A few years ago, Twitch added the Just Chatting category, letting streamers hang out casually with their viewers. Since then, Twitch has added a few non-gaming categories, like the Pools, Hot Tubs, and Beaches category for Amouranth and her hot tub meta, as well as Animals, Aquariums, and Zoos for Twitch's animal lovers.
Since Twitch is more flexible with content creation than it used to be, maybe it could consider introducing TV and Film as a category. Facilitating a category like that wouldn't be easy; Twitch staff and streamers would probably need to strike 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 provoking DMCA strikes. Once there's a deal in place, though, Netflix and other platforms could potentially earn a cut of Twitch's revenue from streamers who use this category, while content creators get access to fun, new options.
Unfortunately, Twitch hasn't shown much support for the TV meta so far considering how significant some of its bans have been. In the long run, it's probably impractical for Twitch's staff and streamers to navigate the paperwork necessary to get TV and film distributors to support a TV and Film category. It seems likely Twitch will do everything it can to shut down this drive, rather than collaborating with streamers to turn TV and Film into a viable Twitch stream.
It's a shame that DMCA and copyright law will probably suffocate the TV meta. Reaction content remains popular on YouTube, but it's easier for YouTube videos to claim fair use thanks to more significant editing and commentary. A Twitch stream that's lighter on commentary and does nothing to modify a TV show has little means to avoid a strike. Twitch users probably shouldn't expect a TV and Film category in the near future, but it remains a nice thought. Maybe someday there will be ways for streamers to share their favorite shows with viewers without fearing a ban from Twitch.
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