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Ninja’d: Twitch ad roll sparks controversy

Famous Fortnite Streamers Herschel “Dr. Disrespect” Beahm IV and Bikeman allege that Twitch is forcing ads for Ninja’s special New Year’s Eve livestream on their own channels. The broadcasting service, they say, is putting these ads in the ad rolls that run on every channel and are outside of their control.


Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is widely seen as the most popular Fortnite streamer in the world – and likely the most popular streamer in the West across all games and platforms. Beyond “simply” advertising a competitor on their stream, a big issue is that the streamers have no control over the ad rolls that are being played on their streams. Ninja himself joined the debate with a since-deleted tweet, claiming that this event will be broadcast to millions everywhere and thus get Twitch – and in return other streamers – a lot more exposure, and rhetorically asking if the problem isn’t just that it’s him being featured.

It’s not exactly that Ninja needs every bit of extra publicity, but the situation shows ad power the 27-year-old American represents. What complicates matters further is that he is partnering with Twitch to host a New Year’s Eve stream live from Times Square in New York City. The project was getting a lot of support from the community – until this controversy showcased how it is being promoted regardless of the wishes of individual streamers – many of whom have their own plans for holiday streams.

None of this is meant to deny that Ninja deserves his success. He has played over 13,500 matches and amassed over 97,000 eliminations, recently crossing the threshold of 5,000 Victory Royales – the first PC player to hit that milestone. With his screen presence, persistence and skill has become the name – and the face – that many people associate with the game. This year, he picked several awards for his achievements, such as the Game Award for best content creator, the Esports Award for best streamer and best esports personality. While he is not the most successful pro player in terms of tournament wins or prizes, his star power and the earnings it brings him are second to none.

Thumbnail images courtesy of DrDisrespect YouTube Stream