Streaming Growth Has Also Welcomed Some Shady Practices

It’s easy for streamers to jump into a business deal when they see money signs, but they could still be grabbing the short end of the stick. 

February 5, 2020

Streaming is a big business now, and that equals big money. Everyone wants in on it, and the way streaming operates is continuously evolving. The growth has opened doors for numerous broadcasters, but it has also welcomed a set of expensive issues. Streaming isn’t just about being entertaining anymore. It’s about striking deals with different platforms, sponsors, and finding agencies that will effectively promote a streamer’s personal brand. It’s easy for streamers to jump into a business deal when they see money signs, but they could still be grabbing the short end of the stick.

In a report by Kotaku, CMO of streaming company N3rdfusion Devin Nash clarified some of the shady practices of some agencies. He talked about one specific instance but opted to keep the identities anonymous. An initial deal came in for $100,000 for a streamer to represent a big brand. However, the agency was in complete control of the negotiations, “so it just conveniently omitted the part about the remaining $90,000, because hey, $10,000 sounds pretty good in isolation, right?”

What makes it even more ridiculous? The streamer didn’t even get to keep the full $10,000.

Nash said, “[The agency] also took the ten percent they had contractually. So they took $1,000 and also pocketed the $90,000. They made $91,000, the streamer made $9,000, and nobody was the wiser.” To some, $9,000 is still a pretty huge deal, but the evidence of greedy practices and a lack of knowledge on the streamer’s end could continue cultivating a predatory industry. Shady deals like these and a lack of flexibility in contracts have forced streamers to make big changes in their personal businesses.

The kick-off of major streaming platform changes first occurred when Tyler “Ninja” Blevins announced his switch from Twitch to Mixer in a massive exclusivity deal that was rumored to be anywhere from $20 to $30 million. Ninja’s increasing popularity on Twitch landed him opportunities with major companies like Adidas, television appearances, and even Hollywood cameos. So why did he leave?

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“I know this may come as a shock to many of you, but as of today, I will be streaming exclusively on Mixer,” he announced. “I feel like this is a really good chance to get back in touch with my roots and really remember why I fell in love with streaming in the first place.” Ninja later clarified that the switch wasn’t about money. In an episode of the True Geordie Podcast, Ninja sat down and spoke about the controversy surrounding his departure from Twitch.

“I’m not saying we were looking to leave [Twitch]. We weren’t. We wanted to make it work. We gave them so many [opportunities] like: ‘Hey guys, listen, what are you doing?’ We were not asking for a lot, and I’m not even talking [about] money. We just wanted a little bit more freedom and they weren’t budging,” he said. “Then we talked with Mixer and in two weeks all the negotiations were, like, alright, perfect, done. It was so simple, so quick.”

His migration to Mixer ignited what people are dubbing “The Streaming Wars” as several popular streamers have begun to shift platforms in exclusive contract deals. Existing partners could potentially find themselves in similar situations, but without the right tools and resources, it’s possible that more streamers will enter unfair, and predatory partnerships.

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Crystal Mills

Born with a controller in her hand, Crystal has been a lifelong gamer who has been known to obsessively ramble about Dragon Age theories. She loves everything from RPGs to shooters, and has a passion for Call of Duty esports. She has written for The Loadout, theScore esports, OpTic Intel, and more. When not writing or gaming Crystal is usually working in surgery, strapping on some boxing gloves, or trying to figure out what her My Hero Academia quirk would be.

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