In September 2020, Google-owned YouTube launched its Shorts feature to compete with the TikTok user explosion. TikTok has over a billion monthly active users, and other social media platforms (like YouTube) are trying to catch up with it. This has been a difficult shift, with Shorts costing YouTube a quarter-billion dollars in revenue this year. Shorts are different from regular YouTube videos because they are limited to 60 seconds, vertically presented and show up in a scrolling format (kind of exactly like TikTok). So, these videos are notoriously difficult to monetize.
On Tuesday morning, YouTube leaders laid out new plans for monetization tools and industry partnerships with the Shorts feature. The platform will introduce advertising on Shorts and give creators 45% of the revenue. The YouTube Partner Program is a system where creators earn profit from ad revenue, and creators who get 10 million views within 90 days can apply for membership. As it’s rolled out, this new plan may offer a more sustainable appeal than TikTok’s static creator fund.
“We’ve always worked in a pretty competitive marketplace. Our approach has always been … that we want to be the home for creators,” said Tara Walpert Levy, YouTube’s vice president for Americas and global content.
“Other platforms are focused on getting people their 15 seconds of fame, which is great. But YouTube is taking a different approach. They’re helping creators make stuff in multiple formats,” said YouTube creator Kris Collins.
“The biggest issue [with tapping into social media fan bases] has always been the rights. And from the artist standpoint: I want my music to be heard. I want my music to be on your page. And from the artist standpoint: I want my music to be heard. I want my music to be on your page,” said musician Jason Derulo at the YouTube event on Tuesday.