Twitch: Q&A with CEO Emmett Shear

In today's "Ask Me Anything" on reddit, Shear addresses recent concerns.

For those of you well-versed in internet drama, you'll know that Twitch is currently under fire. Having made two big changes, loyal users are questioning the site's direction.

  • VODs* are no longer permanent, and will be kept 14 or 60 days
    • 60 days for Turbo Subcribers and Twitch Partners
    • Current VODs will be removed in ~3 weeks
  • VODs will be scanned for copyright music, muting violations in 30-minute** chunks

* Videos on-demand; full recordings of broadcasts
** Shear mentions one of their goals is to mute smaller portions

And why change? Sustainability, because lawsuits and massive storage can add up. Twitch claims that "84% of total views happen within the first 14 days," and that many are unwatched. Instead, Highlights (up to 2 hours each) can be selected and permanently saved.

These are pragmatic moves, and yet many people are incensed. To address these changes, Twitch CEO Emmett Shear took to reddit and started a Q&A.

EDIT: Twitch has already committed to two important updates: permanently-saved highlights will now have unlimited length (no 2-hour limit), and an "appeal" button will be added to videos flagged for audio.

Questions may be edited for length or wording.
For all questions and answers, see the full thread.

: Did Twitch need to change up things? Did an issue or problem spark this?

E. Shear: We did need to change things. This is laying groundwork for some work in the future you guys are REALLY going to like. We've been intending to do this for some time, but it took us a while to identify and select a content identification partner and get the system up and reliable.


Q2: Can you give us any sort of detail on what these magical future improvements are going to be that make all of this worthwhile?

E. Shear: How about VOD being available on every platform, not just web?


Q3: How long before Twitch starts going after livestreams and not just vods?

E. Shear: We have absolutely no intention of running any audio recognition against live video, period. {...} Even if we could run this on live this second, we absolutely would not.


Q4: What are the future plans for the audio technology you're using?

E. Shear: Future plans: increase the scan resolution so that we don't have to flag 30 minute chunks at a time, identify why things have been flagged, institute an appeals system, make sure there isn't any original game music on the flagging list.


Q5: Shouldn't you have built an appeals process before implementing a system with these results?

E. Shear: Probably, but no v1 is perfect.


Q6: Is there a process a streamer can go through if their videos are unfairly flagged and muted?

E. Shear: For now, please email if you think there's a problem. We're working on building an appeals system since that's obviously important.


Q7: How do you think you will support smaller streamers in the near future?

E. Shear: Host mode is one of the many things we're doing to support small streamers. It's an amazing way for big streamers to help smaller deserving streamers out, and we hope it gets used for that even more in the future. Developing small streamers into big ones is a huge goal for us.


Q8: Will automatic muting be applied to Twitch chat when the chorus to Sandstorm is typed out?

E. Shear: Du du du du du du du du du not worry


Q9: Will there be any change in the order of live channels shown under each game?

E. Shear: We're experimenting with new types of sorts right now. The CS:GO directory is our first attempt to attack this problem. Host mode is also an attempt to provide broadcaster-powered discovery tools.


Q10: Why is there no longer an option to locally download your VODs?

E. Shear: Product design constraints at the moment; this is something we would like to allow in the future. If you want to save for now, please save a copy locally as you're streaming.


Q11: Why should I keep streaming on Twitch vs. a different site that has none of these issues?

E. Shear: Because we care about you and your viewers, and we want every broadcaster on Twitch to be protected from potential liability. No matter how remote you might feel the issue is, we aren't willing to run the risk someone's life gets ruined over this.


Q12: Why was no advanced notice given before these policy changes were implemented?

E. Shear: Simply put: we screwed up and should have announced it ahead of time. Sorry.


> > Audio, Speedruns, HTML5 and Delays


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