YouTube is in a tough spot.
New legislation may finally force Google to pay the music industry millions in copyright royalties for infringing content. As the platform implements even more demonetization policies, creators have set-up pages on Patreon to earn cash. Its live-streaming and on-demand gaming platform – YouTube Gaming – has all but flatlined against Amazon’s Twitch. Reviews the platform’s new flagship streaming music service may convince users to stick with Spotify and Apple Music. And, now, Instagram has unveiled its YouTube competitor – IGTV.
So, how does the company plan to remain relevant? Simple. Take everything competitors have done, put a YouTube sticker on it, and call it a feature.
Say hello to Twitch Channel Memberships, Patreon Merchandise, and Snapchat/Instagram Stories Premieres.
YouTube has just announced a slew features aimed at helping content creators earn more from the platform.
At VidCon 2018, YouTube unveiled Channel Memberships. A clone Twitch memberships, for $4.99 a month, viewers can subscribe to channels and receive extra perks. These include unique badges, new emoji, and access to Member-only posts in the Community tab. ‘Sponsors’ may also watch exclusive livestreams, additional videos, and receive shout-outs from their favorite creators.
The company will reportedly keep 30% membership fees. Yet, only members the YouTube Partner Program that have over 100,000 subscribers on their channels may qualify. In turn, Twitch takes a 50% cut. But, it also has many more viewers tuning in – 953,000 daily viewers as opposed to YouTube Gaming’s 272,000.
The company also unveiled its Merchandise feature. Creators with over 10,000 subscribers can finally sell their own merchandise. They can choose from over 20 merchandise items to customize and sell on their channels. There’s a major catch, however. Creators can only do so through Teespring, which takes a significant cut.
Finally, the company has introduced Premieres. Creators with over 10,000 subscribers can use the feature to debut pre-recorded videos “as a live moment.”
Taking on Twitch and Patreon, YouTube will create a unique landing page for each premiere. Combining Snapchat and Instagram Stories with Twitch-like features, fans can tune in and chat with their favorite creators in real-time. They can also donate money with a click a button.
But is this enough to keep YouTube afloat?
The key problem with these features lies in the platform’s rocky relationship with its content creators.
Thanks to recent controversies – monetizing terrorist videos and keeping sexual predator accounts active – YouTube has made it very difficult for its creator community to earn money on the platform. Content creators can’t link to their Patreon pages or merchandise on Amazon unless they have over 10,000 subscribers.
Even worse, for new creators to earn money on their videos, they’ll need at least 1,000 subscribers. In fact, a recent study showed that 96.5% YouTubers don’t earn enough to cross the poverty line. Very few may even have the necessary subscriptions to qualify for these features. So, expect only the top 3.5% YouTubers to actually implement these features and earn money.
Today’s announcement only reinforces one fact – YouTube remains horribly oblivious to the needs its community. Keep in mind that the company will need its community in the long-run to survive.
So, tell me, why would viewers choose to donate money on YouTube?