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Comscore partners with Twitch to bring gaming and esports viewership stats to advertisers

Measurement firm Comscore announced this morning a partnership with Amazon-owned game streaming site, Twitch. The deal will see Comscore measuring video streaming activity across Twitch, including gaming and esports, as well as other audience viewing metrics. This will allow advertisers to get a better understanding of video viewing behavior on Twitch, which helps them in targeting their campaigns to reach key demographics.

Specifically, Comscore says it will measure things like minutes spent and content minutes per ad minute, which are important to advertisers. In time, the partnership will expand the integration to other areas — including a launch in additional markets outside the U.S. and Canada, where it’s going live now, as well as to category- and genre-level reporting.

Twitch today remains the No. 1 game streaming site, despite the recent losses of top streamers to rivals like Microsoft Mixer, Facebook Gaming, and YouTube Live. Last year, Twitch competitors wooed away key talent like Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek, Jack “CouRage” Dunlop, Jeremy “Disguised Toast” Wan, and Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios. In Q1 2020, Corinna Kopf left Twitch as well. As the losses climbed, Twitch saw its hours watched and streamed drop in Q4 2019.

The company is now fighting back. It just signed a deal to retain its top female streamer and 10th most popular overall streamer, Pokimane, earlier this month.

However, despite the talent loss, Twitch’s growth is continuing. The site is expected to top 40 million U.S. viewers next year, according to eMarketer. By 2023, it will reach 47 million. That’s made it too big for the tech giants to ignore, analysts said.

Twitch needs to prove its worth to the advertising community.

The site generated $230 million in ad revenue in 2018, which increased to $300 million last year, according to a report by The Information. But this fell far short of Twitch’s own internal goals, the report claimed. Today, the streaming service still continues to experiment with growth outside of the gaming vertical, with areas like classic TV streams and vlogging, but it has not made non-game streams a core part of the Twitch experience. Amazon also hasn’t capitalized on its acquisition, either to boost its own gaming unit’s titles or integrate Twitch’s live streams with its own video offerings or its Fire TV business.

“Our new partnership with Twitch is more proof of Comscore’s dedication to innovation within audience measurement and across screens,” said Carol Hinnant, Comscore’s Chief Revenue Officer, in a statement. “In a time where gaming and esports are gaining momentum, our partnership will ensure the industry can understand consumption and take advantage of trends in this space.”

In addition, while real-world gaming and esports events have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, there’s potential for game streaming sites like Twitch to increase their viewership — even ahead of forecasts —  in the months ahead. We’ve already seen the coronavirus’s impact on the App Store, as users in China downloaded a record number of games last month during quarantines, for example. As more people globally stay home to stream, game and watch, video steaming sites are likely to grow, as well. 

Comscore is not the first measurement firm to take notice of Twitch. In 2018, Nielsen announced it would measure Twitch esports audiences by way of a panel.

YouTube will now allow creators to monetize videos about coronavirus and COVID-19

YouTube today announced a change in policy regarding the novel coronavirus or COVID-19. Previously, YouTube’s advertising guidelines prevented monetization of videos that included more than a passing mention of the coronavirus as part of its “sensitive events” policy. The policy is meant to protect advertisers from being associated with videos about things like mass shootings, terrorist acts, armed conflicts, and global health crises — like the coronavirus. Now, YouTube is changing this policy to allow some creators to monetize videos on the topic, it says.

The creator community was unhappy with YouTube’s decision to demonetize any video featuring discussions of the coronavirus. (Though, to be fair, YouTube creators are generally unhappy when YouTube demonetizes any of their videos.)

But by not allowing creators to profit from videos about the coronavirus or COVID-19, YouTube was putting a damper on informative, newsworthy videos as well as those capitalizing on the human tragedy and people’s fears about the emerging pandemic. The ban on monetization also meant that news organizations covering the topic responsibly wouldn’t be able to generate revenue from their videos, even as coronavirus news became one of their main coverage areas.

Today, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki explained the company’s decision to re-open monetization on videos referencing the health crisis.

She says that the sensitive events policy was designed to apply to short-term events of a significant magnitude, like a natural disaster.

“It’s becoming clear this issue is now an ongoing and important part of everyday conversation,” Wojcicki said, in reference to the coronavirus, “And we want to make sure news organizations and creators can continue producing quality videos in a sustainable way,” she added.

Not all video creators will be eligible to monetize their coronavirus videos, she notes.

Instead, YouTube says ads will be enabled on “a limited number of channels” including those belonging to news partners and creators “who accurately self-certify.” The latter is a more questionable choice, as it opens up monetization to any creator using YouTube’s self-labeling system, not just news organizations or trusted health authorities.

The Self Certification system is one where creators use an online dashboard to tell YouTube whether or not their videos comply with advertiser guidelines ahead of YouTube’s automated review of their content. Over time, YouTube will rely on creators’ input instead of its own systems if the creators have a history of accurate self-certifications. It’s an honor system, essentially, followed by an official check. 

The system doesn’t prevent creators from publishing misinformation in their videos, then labeling the video as advertiser-friendly. In addition, many creators believe that the bogus information they’re sharing is correct and true, so a self-certification system wouldn’t stop them from publishing their misleading and often dangerous advice. Already, YouTube has to work to quickly remove videos like that. This includes videos discouraging people from seeking medical treatment or making dangerous claims — like how garlic or bleach can prevent the viral disease, for example.

To fight misinformation, YouTube is also raising authoritative sources in its search results and recommendations and is showing information panels on which videos are flagged.

Despite these efforts, there continues to be a massive amount of misinformation circulating across social media, including on sites like Facebook and Twitter, in addition to YouTube. WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus even referred to the crisis as not just an epidemic, but “an infodemic.” (WHO today has upgraded the COVID-19 viral disease a pandemic, as well.)

In light of the misinformation problem, YouTube’s decision to open up monetization on videos about the coronavirus will be a controversial choice. In doing so, it signals to the creator community that one the most-searched topics on the internet can now be leveraged for views and ad dollars. That invites exploitation.

 

 

YouTube will now allow creators to monetize videos about coronavirus and COVID-19

YouTube today announced a change in policy regarding the novel coronavirus or COVID-19. Previously, YouTube’s advertising guidelines prevented monetization of videos that included more than a passing mention of the coronavirus as part of its “sensitive events” policy. The policy is meant to protect advertisers from being associated with videos about things like mass shootings, terrorist acts, armed conflicts, and global health crises — like the coronavirus. Now, YouTube is changing this policy to allow some creators to monetize videos on the topic, it says.

The creator community was unhappy with YouTube’s decision to demonetize any video featuring discussions of the coronavirus. (Though, to be fair, YouTube creators are generally unhappy when YouTube demonetizes any of their videos.)

But by not allowing creators to profit from videos about the coronavirus or COVID-19, YouTube was putting a damper on informative, newsworthy videos as well as those capitalizing on the human tragedy and people’s fears about the emerging pandemic. The ban on monetization also meant that news organizations covering the topic responsibly wouldn’t be able to generate revenue from their videos, even as coronavirus news became one of their main coverage areas.

Today, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki explained the company’s decision to re-open monetization on videos referencing the health crisis.

She says that the sensitive events policy was designed to apply to short-term events of a significant magnitude, like a natural disaster.

“It’s becoming clear this issue is now an ongoing and important part of everyday conversation,” Wojcicki said, in reference to the coronavirus, “And we want to make sure news organizations and creators can continue producing quality videos in a sustainable way,” she added.

Not all video creators will be eligible to monetize their coronavirus videos, she notes.

Instead, YouTube says ads will be enabled on “a limited number of channels” including those belonging to news partners and creators “who accurately self-certify.” The latter is a more questionable choice, as it opens up monetization to any creator using YouTube’s self-labeling system, not just news organizations or trusted health authorities.

The Self Certification system is one where creators use an online dashboard to tell YouTube whether or not their videos comply with advertiser guidelines ahead of YouTube’s automated review of their content. Over time, YouTube will rely on creators’ input instead of its own systems if the creators have a history of accurate self-certifications. It’s an honor system, essentially, followed by an official check. 

The system doesn’t prevent creators from publishing misinformation in their videos, then labeling the video as advertiser-friendly. In addition, many creators believe that the bogus information they’re sharing is correct and true, so a self-certification system wouldn’t stop them from publishing their misleading and often dangerous advice. Already, YouTube has to work to quickly remove videos like that. This includes videos discouraging people from seeking medical treatment or making dangerous claims — like how garlic or bleach can prevent the viral disease, for example.

To fight misinformation, YouTube is also raising authoritative sources in its search results and recommendations and is showing information panels on which videos are flagged.

Despite these efforts, there continues to be a massive amount of misinformation circulating across social media, including on sites like Facebook and Twitter, in addition to YouTube. WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus even referred to the crisis as not just an epidemic, but “an infodemic.” (WHO today has upgraded the COVID-19 viral disease a pandemic, as well.)

In light of the misinformation problem, YouTube’s decision to open up monetization on videos about the coronavirus will be a controversial choice. In doing so, it signals to the creator community that one the most-searched topics on the internet can now be leveraged for views and ad dollars. That invites exploitation.