Twitch vs The Hot Tub Streamers


Live streaming has become all the rage for content creators. The format was popularized by video gamers, allowing them to share their gaming experience to a live audience who can interact with the “host” in real time. Twitch, the leading platform in live-streaming, has since expanding its site to allow for different audiences and interests, just as musicians, arts-and-crafters, and even just to sit around and talk. However, Twitch found themselves in a bit of hot water recently when they ran aground of something they’d never anticipated: the hot tub streamer.

Hot Tub Streaming?

One of the hurdles of streaming is growing an audience. The greater the viewer numbers, the more lucrative the ads on a streamers channel can be. As a result, some streamers have decided to stream from hot tubs, wearing bathing suits usually associated with the activity, to draw more eyes to their channels. Posting in the Twitch category “Just Chatting,” which is a collection of people in front of a camera talking about their day, their hobbies, life in general, and interacting with their audience, the hot tub streamers would do exactly that, just sitting in a hot tub while doing so. As expected, it drew a number of new viewers to those channels, but also drew a number of criticisms concerning the practice.

Dividing the Community

But not everyone on the platform is behind the new practice of hot-tub streaming. One streamer in particular, Malena Tudi, called on Twitch to take action against the hot-tub streamers, stating that the practice will cause sponsors to pull their advertising, leading to what she called “Adpocalypse 2.0.” The term “Adpocalypse” was coined after video-sharing platform YouTube changed its guidelines to focus on “family friendly content” which affected a number of YouTubers who created more risqué videos. The move was strengthened after a number of bigger-names in YouTube, including PewDiePie and Logan Paul, posted some controversial videos, which led to sponsors pulling their advertising from the platform. Many streamers and creators rely on ads on their channels as a source of income, so if that disappears as a result of the hot tubbing, things could go very bad. And given the history of a few creators affecting the incomes of the community as a whole, detractors like Malena have good reasons to be concerned.

Twitch Takes Action

In response to the division, Twitch decided to act swiftly against hot tub streamers, removing advertising from their streams and in some cases even outright suspending streamers. One popular streamer affected by the change is Kaitlyn Siragusa who is more commonly known as Amouranth online. Amouranth was, at one point, making $30,000 per month as a result of hot tub streaming, an amount that far exceeded the direct donations she received from viewers. However, all of that came to a screeching halt when Twitch removed advertising on her channel.

Streamers Lash Out

Amouranth’s response to Twitch’s decision was harsh and not unexpected. She took to her Twitter account and blasted the site’s removal of ads from her channel, stating in a series of tweets, “This is an ALARMING precedent and serves as a stark warning that although content may not ostensibly break […] Terms of service, Twitch has complete discretion to target individual channels […] for content that is deemed ‘not advertiser friendly’, something that there is no communicated guideline for.”

One particular streamer who threw her support to Amouranth was PkmnMasterHolly, a video game streamer who grew her audience through Pokémon Go but also dabbled in hot tub streams. In a tweet, she described the removal of ads from streamers’ channels as “the death of creator freedom and free expression” and claimed that “advertisers are ruining everything.”

A Compromise is Found

As a result, Twitch has repealed the bans on hot tub streamers and reinstated their accounts, allowing advertising on the channels and letting things go back to as they were before. Or, almost at least. While they haven’t changed their stance on nudity and sexually explicit material being allowed on the platform, they do recognize that some people are not comfortable seeing people in bathing suits and other skimpy outfits, even if the outfits do not violate their TOS. As a result, to appease those who feel that way, Twitch created a new category for the site, logically named “Pools, Hot Tubs, and Beaches” in an effort to separate these streamers from the broader “Just Chatting” category.

While it’s still too early to determine if the change has had a measurable impact on the streamers and their bottom line, at the very least Twitch was able to find a compromise for all parties involved. The hot tub streamers are allowed to continue hanging out in their Jacuzzis and the dissenters are able to peruse the Just Chatting category without having boobs shoved in their faces. Win-win, I’d say.