Twitch streamers approach the platform like a competitive game, making up new strategies in order to garner more and more views. The most recent approach to gain popularity, called the “TV meta,” has had the predictable result of getting people banned.
In competitive games, the “meta” refers to the current tried-and-true strategies for winning. Players can shake up the meta by trying new strategies, disrupting the established norms, and streamers approach Twitch in the same way. For some time, the “hot tub meta” was dominant across Twitch, and every streamer was filling up an inflatable pool with lukewarm water to sit in. Now, another meta has emerged: the “TV meta.”
The TV meta is simple to understand. You watch TV on stream, sometimes in a long marathon, and react to it. Unfortunately, many of the shows the biggest streamers are watching while broadcasting are explicitly someone else’s intellectual property, thus making streamers vulnerable to copyright claims. While the TV meta has been successful for popular streamers like xQc, who has been watching Master Chef on stream, it’s spurred Twitch to start handing out bans.
Last week, streamer Pokimane was temporarily banned for watching Avatar: The Last Airbender on stream. A day later, Hasan Piker received a copyright claim on his channel for watching Master Chef after seeing the success xQc had watching the show on air.
Yesterday, the streamer DisguisedToast got a one month ban for streaming the anime Death Note.
Despite being a host to many thousands of people playing games on the site, Twitch is long past the days where its biggest stars played games for hours on end. Streamers like Piker and Pokimane do play games, but just as often they’re likely to watch and react to videos that their fanbase sends them.
If you’re not marathoning a game, then filling up some of the hours you have on-air with a television show makes sense. If you stream for eight hours every day, you have to have something to do while you sit there. Both DisguisedToast and Pokimane were banned in the middle of hours-long marathons, as well. The TV meta makes more sense if you think of Twitch less as a site for gamers, and more as a public access broadcasting platform.
The message from Twitch feels pretty clear. Although a new meta can lead to huge gains for your channel, Twitch is absolutely willing to ban even some of its most popular stars for violating copyright. Streamers can fuck around with the TV meta if they like, as long as they’re prepared to find out and cop a ban.