Twitch's Hot Tub Streams Explained as Platform Introduces New Category for Videos

On May 21, popular streaming platform Twitch announced, and immediately introduced, a new genre section for the categorizing of streams titled: "Pools, Hot Tubs and Beaches." The change may have been implemented with immediate effect, but the discussion surrounding the genre has been happening a long time.

Hot tub streams are exactly what they sound like. Twitch streamers broadcast live from their at-home hot tubs in swimwear, often simply talking to their audience, but occasionally doing activities like playing online chess.

Since 2020, hot tubs streams have risen in popularity, with streams racking up views and making creators some of the most-viewed on Twitch. Creators like Kaitlyn 'Amouranth' Siragusa and Jenelle "Indiefoxx" Dagres are leaders in the genre. Amouranth even told Kotaku she can earn over $1000 a day while streaming directly from the tub.

Just last week, one of the most popular gaming streamers on Twitch, Pokimane, joined the OfflineTV group to celebrate her birthday, streaming straight from a hot tub —albeit fully clothed. The stream hit over 100,000 viewers, making it the most popular hot tub stream to date.

But as more and more streams emerged, so did the conversation surrounding them. Twitch's policy allows swimwear when it's in an appropriate context, like a pool or the beach. Although the platform has strict rules on sexual content, they don't have rules on sexually suggestive content. "Being found to be sexy by others is not against our rules, and Twitch will not take enforcement action against women, or anyone on our service, for their perceived attractiveness," said Twitch in its guidelines update blog post.

However, for some Twitch purists, the rise in hot tub streams takes away from what the platform was created, and often loved, for—streaming video games. In April, popular streamer xQc, real name Felix Lengyel, dubbed the streams "trash," and "the most pathetic thing we've seen on Twitch in forever."

Twitch hot tub streams have become popular
Twitch has recently changed its guidelines on hot tub streaming. Newsweek

Last week, discourse surrounding hot tub streams' place on Twitch was awarded a megaphone when the biggest streamer in the hot tub game was demonetized by the platform. Amouranth announced that her streams had been demonetized by Twitch without her being informed, writing in a tweet on May 18: "Yesterday I was informed that Twitch has indefinitely suspended advertising on my channel. Twitch didn't reach out in any way whatsoever. I had to initiate the conversation after noticing, without any prior warning, all the ads revenue had disappeared from my channel analytics."

When speaking to Kotaku, Amouranth elaborated: "I asked my Twitch partner manager why my ads were showing '0' after May 7, and she initially expressed surprise as well and even introduced me to upcoming ads products that were rolling out. After inquiring internally, it seems she came back with a prepared statement. They made clear that ads were off the table in the short term. They vaguely alluded that not all content allowed under [terms of service] is appropriate for all advertisers."

A Twitch spokesperson told Newsweek: "We give advertisers control over where their ads appear on Twitch, and work closely with them to ensure they reach their target audience. In this case, we suspended ads from some channels by advertiser request.

"We did not alert impacted creators at the time, and we should have—our creators rely on us. We're working with individual creators to address their specific situations and aim to provide more creator guidelines to identify content that may be deemed not appropriate for all advertisers.

"We are also introducing a new 'Pools, Hot Tubs and Beaches' category to give more choice to both viewers and brands about the content they view and that their ad appears alongside, respectively. This will allow us to establish more dynamic targeting for advertisers— further preserving opportunities for creators to earn advertising revenue when brands are more appropriately matched with content that aligns with their target audiences. You can read more on that decision here."

Essentially, the new category will allow advertisers to choose whether or not they want their products to appear on hot tub streams, but it will also encourage those who specifically want to advertise with such content, to work with Twitch.

Previously, hot tub streams had found a home in the "Just Chatting" category, where creators tend to have simple conversations with their viewers, rather than have any plan of action for the stream.

According to Twitch's new terms: "If you have chosen swimwear that is allowed under the 'Swim and Beaches' contextual exception to our standard Nudity and Attire policy, you should stream into the Pools, Hot Tubs and Beaches category."

Newsweek has contacted Amouranth for comment.