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Following the announcement last week of the extension of its TikTok-like ‘Clips’ option to all US users, YouTube has today revealed the next stage in its growing attention on short-form material, with a new ‘Shorts Fund’ that will see YouTube pay out $100 million to top Shorts makers to provide additional funding and inspiration for their efforts.
As said by YouTube:
“Since Shorts is a new way to watch and create on YouTube, we’ve been taking a fresh look at what it means to monetize and reward creators for their content. We’re introducing the YouTube Shorts Fund, a $100M fund distributed over the course of 2021-2022. Anyone is eligible to participate in the fund simply by creating unique Shorts that delight the YouTube community.”
That could be a significant boost for Short content, as well as additional inspiration for YouTube stars to post to Shorts rather than TikTok.
In contrast to YouTube’s normal monetization phase, YouTube will give this new Shorts support through its Partner Program to the Shorts clips that get “the most interaction and shares” each month – as long as users “make original content for Shorts and stick to our Community Guidelines.”
Snapchat has only paid out over $90 million via the Spotlight campaign in less than 6 months, but with over 125 million Snapchatters currently using Spotlight, it could be worth the initial investment. It might be more difficult to explain those costs in the long run, but the theory is that this initial funding will bring Snap to the next level, where it can easily monetize Spotlight, and then it will use the funding from advertising to create a more viable short video ecosystem.
Although direct payments for top Shorts content are a significant initial investment, YouTube will ultimately look to develop an ad platform on top of the current model to tap into the monetization process. So, like Snapchat, these initial payments are merely to arouse curiosity – and, most certainly, to deter users from moving to TikTok as they create more solid systems around the system.
In addition to the new Shorts Fund, YouTube has introduced several new Shorts features as it continues to extend the option.
If YouTube would get a couple of the bigger TikTok stars to come over and solely post to Shorts, it will easily reverse the tide – and direct rewards, through this new programme, could, at the very least, encourage some of YouTube’s own stars to stay home rather than branching out to TikTok.