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Twitch Starts Running Its Own Blocker-Proof Ads in Users’ Live Game Broadcasts

Twitch is looking to generate more cash from the 2 million-plus video-game players who broadcast on its platform each month.

The Amazon-owned social-video gaming service announced that it will begin selling video ads that will run in broadcast partners’ live streams delivered via its new SureStream system that’s native to the platform, starting this week. Broadcasters control if, when and how often to play midroll ads during their stream, but pre- and postroll ads will be inserted automatically.

Twitch claims the new SureStream ad-delivery system will provide smoother ad playback with fewer freezes and interruptions than using third-party ad networks. More important, Twitch also stands to boost ad revenue overall, since it cuts out third-party advertising providers.

And there’s this: According to Twitch, SureStream will be able to serve video ads even to viewers who are using ad-blocking software.

Twitch-partnered broadcasters are entitled to a revenue share on ads played during their broadcasts, but the company does not disclose what that split is.

“Since the video ads played by our streamers during their broadcasts are an important source of revenue for them, it’s our responsibility to constantly improve the advertising experience for all parties in the Twitch ecosystem,” chief revenue officer Jonathan Simpson-Bint said in a statement. “SureStream helps ensure they can keep doing what they love, while providing a more seamless experience for viewers.”

Twitch also is pitching the SureStream program to Madison Avenue. Now that Twitch is selling and serving first-party ad inventory across all channels, media buyers can reach a wider audience on the platform, according to the company — and give them the ability to reach elusive younger consumers who spend hours watching gaming stars’ exploits playing titles like “League of Legends,” “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive,” and “Minecraft” in real time. In 2015, Twitch viewers watched an average of 421.6 minutes of video per month, according to the company.

Twitch’s new ad initiative comes just a month after it launched Twitch Prime, which strips out ads for users who are Amazon Prime members and also provides free access to one paid Twitch channel per month and other benefits. Twitch also lets broadcasters offer ad-free viewing to subscribers to their channel as a perk, and Twitch generates revenue from taking a cut of the subscription fees its live-streaming partners charge fans.

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