A sign of the times or something more sinister entirely is currently up for debate, but companies are taking notice of Twitch in what some consider to be the worst way possible.
Many Twitch streamers have a system in place that allows users to donate a paltry sum to have their text transcribed to speech which then plays audibly on the stream, for up to hundreds of thousands of viewers eager to consume the media.
The lowest level of many of these donation TTS is $5, which means that savvy companies can effectively broadcast a short commercial to a wide variety of viewers for less than has been previously possible. Imagine a commercial costing $5; the amount of low-effort audio/visual masterpieces would result in broadcast television being canceled rather quickly.
Now imagine that power being placed in the hands of every advertising power in the United States.
Some channels are overrun with TTS donations with a very low cost for entry: Aurater on Twitch has a $1 minimum which makes the stream almost incomprehensible more often than not due entirely to TTS spam, and xQc recently attempted to turn them back on much to his chagrin.
This is exceptionally low class.
Taking advantage of a system meant to support these streamers, utilizing it for big-name companies that could easily afford to do it properly and then bragging about it?
Predatory marketing. Cool.
— Cohh Carnage (@CohhCarnage) August 19, 2020
The marketing brand that is a branch of the greater company known as Oglivy has been the workers behind this grass-roots attempt at commercials, and it worked more often than not with many streamers presuming that a Burger King sponsorship was going to be forthcoming; instead, it was a marketing platform attempting to push their message to as many people as possible for as cheaply as possible.
Some streamers called it predatory marketing, and others heralded it more as a sign of the modern times of the ‘modern capitalist hellscape’.
Inevitably, streamers will be proactive to filter these low-brow adverts from their community, yet that will take time and understanding in order to do based, if on nothing else, the sheer number of companies and products that are eagerly searching for the newest means of reaching out to prospective consumers.
Eventually, the companies that run the TTS options will catch wind of the current marketing gimmick and move to intercede, but it’s going to be an uphill battle for the developers to figure out precisely how to separate the wheat (actual viewers that are aiming to offer their streamer of choice financial support) from the chaff (companies looking to advertise for as little as possible).
For the interim, streamers are suggested to figure out a means of filtering TTS via mods and options, if not disable them altogether; unless you’re accepting to being a corporate stepping stone, and your audience fodder.