December 8, 2022


  • YouTube announced the biggest changes to its monetization program for creators in 15 years.
  • YouTube will share ad revenue with short film creators who have 1,000 subscribers and 10 million views.
  • It’s a big turnaround, but some creators have expressed concerns about the money going to music companies.

During Tuesday’s event dubbed “Made On YouTube,” the video giant issued an implicit challenge to TikTok by announcing the widespread ad revenue sharing of short form creators.

Although YouTube is the first major platform beyond the short video creator fund – an update that many have welcomed – some questions still remain about how much money creators will take home.

That’s because YouTube allocates a portion of its total short ad revenue to cover music licensing. The platform did not specify how much of the total revenue would go to music labels and declined to reveal more information to Insider. The remaining amount of ad revenue – whatever doesn’t go to ratings – will be split between creators (45%) and YouTube (55%).

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki was ill yesterday, but her top aides Neil Mohan, Tara, Albert Levy, Amjad Hanif and Leor Cohen delivered updates that Mohan described as the biggest changes to YouTube’s partner program – creator monetization initiative – in 15 years.

Here are three main meals:

1. Short monetization is a challenge for TikTok, but concerns remain

Starting next year, in lieu of a YouTube Shorts box, YouTube will start sharing revenue from short ads with creators.

After paying an undisclosed amount to the music licensing companies, YouTube will take the remaining amount and split it with the creators. Creators will get 45%, while YouTube will get 55%.

It will be one of the biggest shifts a major short video app is making towards sharing ad revenue directly with creators – and that’s challenging TikTok’s competition. TikTok primarily pays creators through its Creator Fund and other monetization features, and it’s only recently that it has started dipping its toes into revenue sharing with top video creators.

But some YouTubers have expressed concerns, particularly about the undisclosed share of ad revenue that will go to record companies – regardless of whether or not creators use music in their short films.

“Creators don’t get 45% of shorts revenue,” veteran creator Hank Green wrote on Twitter. “Content creators will receive 45% of an unknown percentage of short film revenue.”

“If we make shorts without music, why does the music industry make money from it?” Matt Koval tweeted, former YouTube Creators Contact. “I didn’t think the shorts were all about music; most of the videos I see don’t even have music.”

YouTube declined to share with Insider what percentage of short ad revenue will go to licensing music, or the number of short films across the platform that contain music.

2. YouTube will soon open monetization features for more creators

Previously, to be eligible for YouTube monetization programs, creators required 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time for long-form videos within a year of applying. Now, creators are eligible to get 1,000 subscribers and 10 million views on short films within 90 days.

“We think you should be able to make a living in any way,” said Walbert Levy. “It’s early days in short films, but we’re seeing a lot of encouraging signs, whether it’s advertising interests…brand deals or shopping.”

Separately, next year YouTube is launching a new level of partner program with lower eligibility thresholds for long, straight and short creators. Eligibility requirements were not disclosed, but these creators will not be able to monetize through ads; They only get access to fan-funded monetization tools like Super Thanks (viewer tips) and channel memberships.

Finally, YouTube said it has paid out more than $50 billion to two million creators, artists, and media companies over the past three years.

3. YouTube looks to simplify music licensing

While creators will soon be able to monetize short films using music licensed under the above terms, YouTube is still ending the license for feature-length videos.

Starting next year, to help creators avoid copyright infringement, a new tool will be launched within the YouTube Studio dashboard called Creator Music. There, creators can choose to purchase licenses for songs directly, or enter into revenue-sharing agreements with artists.

Creator Music is currently in beta and will launch later this fall with partners including Empire, Believe, Downtown and Merlin.





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