We don’t yet have an official acknowledgement of Youtube’s rumoured purchase of Twitch, but we’re already seeing a rapid shift in how Twitch goes about their business, which only lends credence to those rumours. Via their official blog, Twitch announced some significant changes to their service that are taking effect very soon.
For starters, justin.tv is shutting down. You might remember that Twitch began as the video game arm of justin.tv, but it became so big that it not only outgrew the main site, it has now outlived it as well. Those who still have accounts on justin.tv are being told to migrate them to Twitch, but since Twitch is really only for video games, anyone who was broadcasting anything other than games will probably have to turn somewhere else for their streaming needs.
Next, previous Twitch broadcasts will no longer be saved indefinitely if a highlight is attached to it, and any past broadcast that’s currently archived ‘forever’ will risk being deleted in a few weeks. Instead, Twitch is now offering storage of any video length for 14 days for regular users, while subscribers to their turbo service and members of the Twitch partner program will both get 60 days. Twitch is also offering two hour segments of highlights that can be saved indefinitely. These segments can be one stream that lasts for up to two hours, or two hours of edited footage, and all Twitch users are eligible for this indefinite storage.
This certainly won’t go over well with the really big channels but to be fair, Twitch did at least try to defend their decision. According to a simple chart posted on their blog, over 80% of the footage they’re currently storing is past broadcasts that are never watched, and over 84% of total views happen within the first 14 days of a video being broadcast. Twitch also claims that highlight videos bring in nine times the number of views when compared to full-length past broadcasts.
So how do you keep from losing your past broadcasts and why are they doing this? Twitch now has a new video manager that will allow you to export videos of any length to YouTube, which can be seen just below. As for the ‘why’, Twitch says these moves are necessary not just to save server space, but to add new features that have been requested by the community. These features include increasing the VOD quality for international users, adding the ability to watch VOD on any device (including mobile), more secure broadcast storage with triple redundancy, and an easier way to export videos to YouTube. Twitch also said this helps them with “conceptualizing new features like DVR, matching quality options from live to VOD, and better VOD discovery.”
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the end of their announcements. They made a separate blog post detailing a system very similar to YouTube’s Content ID, that will ensure unauthorized third-party audio is not stored on Twitch. They’re even using the same service YouTube utilizes, Audible Magic, which will scan thirty minute segments of archived content to search for both in-game and ambient audio for copyright infringement.
If unauthorized audio is discovered, the entire thirty minute block of video will be muted, a message will appear on screen that notifies the viewer of the “flagged content”, and all volume control options will be removed until the thirty minute segment has ended. What’s worse is that once the thirty minute block of audio is removed, it can’t be recovered and will remain muted even when exporting. The only silver lining to this announcement is that Twitch won’t be scanning live broadcasts for this content, but rather video that is stored on their servers after the broadcast has ended.
In case we lost you in the sea of changes above, here’s the big stuff:
- Justin.tv is shutting down, and all users are being asked to migrate their content to Twitch
- Twitch users will no longer be allowed to save broadcasts that last longer than two hours forever, but turbo subscribers and those in the Twitch partner program can still save them for up to 60 days (14 days for normal users)
- Highlights videos of up to two hours can be saved forever by any Twitch user
- A content ID system similar to what YouTube uses is being implemented to scan for “unauthorized audio” and mute thirty minute segments of archived clips if any is discovered (live broadcasts won’t be scanned)
If you stream on Twitch, we’d love to hear what you think of these changes, and if you feel the features being added come anywhere close to making up for the time-limited storage and the implementation of a content ID system.