YouTube is such a massive part of our lives now that anything that happens with the platform directly affects our daily lives. During the past few years, the controversy-ridden video streaming platform has been dragging itself into a rabbit hole. Content creators, ad companies and viewers, everyone seems to be fuming at what YouTube is doing with its platform.
From the adpocalypse to videos getting wrongly demonetized and flagged, it seems like even YouTube can’t figure out how they could tackle the problems and make their algorithms more creator friendly. The creators are at the core of YouTube experience and without them, YouTube wouldn’t be able to exist. However, the company needs to keep its investors and ad companies happy as well somehow and it just has been really hard for YouTube to figure out how to balance these two things together.
Well, it seems like things might be about to get better, somewhat at least. YouTube has been aware of the issues and has been testing new solutions for them for quite some time now. Just a few days ago, it rolled out some changes to the way videos are reported for copyright content. Not everyone can randomly claim someone’s video and shut down the monetization on it anymore. Instead, YouTube has introduced claims for specific timestamps and has given the creators some editing tools to cut or alter the claimed bits. This has come as a relief to most content creators but the demonetization issue is still yet to be fixed. However, it seems like YouTube has decided to find a way around it for the time being by giving more options for the creators to make money.
New YouTube Monetization features announced at VidCon
Today, at VidCon 2019, YouTube announced a bunch of new features that would increase the earning potential of content creators. Moreover, these features are not really tied to ad-revenue either so this also helps with curbing and somewhat softening the blow of the videos getting demonetized. We already got channel memberships, which were like Twitch subscriptions last year. These allowed the creators to make money off YouTube apart from the ordinary ad-revenue which, quite frankly, has been in shambles lately. YouTube also had to implement it since a lot of people were switching to Twitch and Patreon because of the adpocalypse. The new features introduced this year build upon the announcements of last year and include some much-requested additions as well.
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1. Membership Tiers
This has probably been the most requested feature and is an extension of last year’s channel memberships. Previously, YouTube only had one $4.99 tier of channel memberships. If you wanted to support your favourite creator even more, you’d have to find other ways like buying merch or donating. Now, with membership tiers, creators can set up to five different prices for their memberships with different rewards. These can be special videos, livestreams, emojis, and exclusive badges etc. A few channels like REACT have already been testing this feature out and according to YouTube, the channel’s revenue increased by six times after a couple more membership tiers were introduced.
2. Super Stickers
YouTube is trying to take on twitch in the livestreaming game. It has already introduced many new features to make it more appealing to streamers like Super Chat, which is a special highlighted message that appears if you donate to the streamer. According to YouTube, Super Chat is the main source of income for almost 20,000 channels. It makes sense too – you donate and support your favourite creator and have your message stand out and be read by them as well making it a win-win situation. Well, YouTube is now taking another leaf out of Twitch’s book and is introducing Super Stickers. These are obviously inspired by emotes on Twitch meaning that creators can upload their own emotes. Members can use these emotes in the chat as a way to support their favourite creators and also for the memes.
The Super Stickers will, however, have a different feel to their Twitch counterparts and will have a much wider span in terms of genre and language.
3. Merch Shelf
YouTube already has a way for creators to make and sell merch using the Merch Shelf feature. Teespring has been the partner for Merch Shelf for a long time helping creators make and sell t-shirts, mugs, and phone cases etc. However, YouTube has now decided to expand upon that and has added several new partners to the list of Merch Shelf. These include Crowdmade, Fanjoy, Rooster Teeth, Represent and DFTBA.
4. YouTube Giving
Another much requested feature has been the ability to donate to non-profit causes directly through YouTube. Twitch has been doing it for a very long time through streamlabs and it is kinda peculiar that it took YouTube this long to implement such a necessary feature. Anyway, it is finally here now after a year of testing in the form of YouTube Giving. Launching within a few months, fans will be able to click a donate button on YouTube and donate some money to the cause that they wish to support.
5. Learning Playlists
Learning Playlists are not exactly something that would increase the earning potential of the content creator directly, but it might improve the overall experience and thus indirectly induce some earnings. Creators, through Learning Playlists, can now divide their videos into chapters and key elements to separate them and arrange them in a better way. This feature has been particularly implemented for educational video creators and would definitely help them with organizing study material on their channels. Furthermore, it would also hide recommendations from the Watch page if you’re watching a learning playlist so that you would stay focused.
Overall, most of these changes are very positive and would definitely help YouTube in terms of retaining the audience and creators. These also promote a sense of community among channels on YouTube, which the website has always lacked as compared to Twitch. Yes, things like demonetization still need to be addressed but it feels like YouTube is now finally going in the right direction. Let’s hope it continues to do so.