Twitch adds 'Cheer' microtransaction framework

June 28, 2016 // 1:19 p.m.

Tags: #broadcast #microtransaction #streaming #video

Companies: #amazon #twitch

Amazon-owned video streaming specialist Twitch has added the ability for viewers to 'cheer' for their favourite broadcasters, and in doing so provide a new revenue stream.

On the face of it, the news that Twitch has added a 'cheer' emote to its chat system is more than a little boring. Under the hood, though, the Cheer system is something rather bigger: a money-backed 'tip jar' to allow viewers to directly financially support their favourite broadcasters live and in-stream, without having to head to a third-party website like PayPal or Patreon and hand over cash directly.

Each time a user 'cheers' in a chat, Twitch has explained, they will be able to assign a number of 'bits:' 'cheer10' assigns 10 bits, for example, while 'cheer200' assigns 200 bits. These bits, naturally, come from a finite pool which must be replenished using real-world cash starting at $1.40 for a pool of 100.

Interestingly, though, not every broadcaster will be able to benefit financially from the programme: Twitch has confirmed that only 'eligible partnered broadcasters get a revenue share from Bits used to Cheer for them,' with non-eligible or non-partnered broadcasters being left out in the cold. For these, only the secondary benefits of Cheering will be available: as users Cheer, they will receive badges which the company claims will make them more obvious to streamers and aid to 'help you identify the regulars in new channels [while] animated emotes will draw your attention to important messages or moments.'

'Our community loves to support their favorite broadcasters, and Cheering using Bits provides a fun new way to level up their appreciation,' claimed Emmett Shear, Twitch chief executive officer, of the launch. 'If channel subscriptions are the equivalent to holding season tickets for your favorite sports team, Cheering is like getting a crowd wave started during the game,' he added - ignoring, of course, that a crowd wave does not normally cost the wavers any money.

Twitch's Cheer system is being rolled out on a gradual basis, with more information available from the official announcement.
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