YouTube has unveiled a string of new features for creators to monetise their videos. From Premieres and Memberships to Merchandise, the services were announced at VidCon 2018, the annual convention first started by Hank and John Green back in 2010.
YouTube began 13 years ago, growing to become a colossal force in the online video landscape with more than 1.9 billion users every month. With growing rivalry from other platforms, including Snapchat Discover and Facebook Watch, the key to YouTube’s success has been the way that it easily enables creators to monetise their work and profit from building their presence within the community. It’s only fitting, then, that in the same week that Instagram launched IGTV, supporting videos of up to an hour, YouTube should announce an array of new services.
The number of creators earning five figures a year is up by 35 per cent and the number of creators earning six figures is up by 40 per cent, explained Neal Mohan, Chief Product Officer, at VidCon. As in previous years, the vast majority of the revenue is coming from YouTube’s advertising partners.
“We’ll continue investing here, but we also want to think beyond ads,” he said. “Creators should have as many ways and opportunities to make money as possible. We’ve been working on new tools that not only help creators better engage with their fans, they also enable them to make money while doing it.”
The features build upon the success of Super Chat, which was announced last year as a way for fans to purchase messages that stand out within a live chat on a channel’s Community tab. Here’s the rundown of what they are:
With Channel Memberships, viewers pay a monthly recurring fee of $4.99 to get unique badges, new emoji, Members-only posts in the Community tab, and access to unique custom perks offered by creators, such as exclusive live-streams, extra videos, or shout-outs.
Channel Memberships have already been available for a select group of creators on YouTube as Sponsorships. Since launching in January, comedy creator Mike Falzone more than tripled his YouTube revenue. And traveling duo Simon and Martina have revamped a miniseries exclusively for their members, in more than 30 countries from Finland to the Philippines.
“We’ve seen a lot of creators find success with this new business model,” said Mohan. “So, we’ll soon be expanding this to eligible channels with more than 100,000 subscribers on YouTube under the new name Channel Memberships. We hope to bring it to even more creators in the coming months.”
Merchandise has been a part of many creators’ businesses for a long time. Now, YouTube has built an official product to make it easier for them to sell merch, from shirts with a logo to phone cases with a creator’s face.
The service is powered by Teespring so creators can choose from over 20 merchandise items to customise and sell via a shelf on their channel. This is now available to all eligible US-based channels with over 10,000 subscribers, and YouTube plans to roll it out wider soon.
YouTube is introducing a new way for creators to upload content to YouTube called Premieres. With Premieres, creators will be able to debut pre-recorded videos as a live moment. When creators choose to release a Premiere, YouTube will automatically create a public landing page to build anticipation and hype, with all fans able to watch the premiere and chat with each other via live chat – the equivalent of a community sitting in a room together watching the creator’s latest upload.
Premieres also unlock new revenue streams. Creators can now use Super Chat on traditional YouTube uploads and take advantage of Channel Memberships perks that were previously only available on Live videos.
“YouTube creators are the heartbeat of our platform. That’s why we’re committed to building products that empower and support the creator community. We hope these tools help creators build a stronger community and earn more money while doing it, because when they succeed, the entire YouTube community thrives,” concluded Mohan.
Borrowing a leaf from Snapchat and Instagram’s book, YouTube is also experimenting with its own take on Stories, but designed specifically for YouTube creators. That will come to all eligible creators with more than 10,000 subscribers later this year.
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