Image Credit: YouTube
YouTube announced a few new monetization features for Shorts that will shift the entire short-form video industry.
In a recent piece celebrating $6 billion paid to the music industry over the past year, YouTube said in a blog “In addition to our $100M Shorts Fund, we’re creating long-term monetization solutions for Shorts, and we’ll have more to share on this soon.” This is finally happening, which is great news for short-form video creators.
While most short-form platforms include some sort of creator fund initiative, these are far from career building monetization options, even for the largest creators. Payments amounts can vary massively, with no real views-to-dollar ratio. Not to mention the backwards way that a set fund actually leads to creators making less money the more popular the app becomes, as described by Hank Green here. For these reasons, many of the top influencers on TikTok make the majority of their money off-platform. This could be sponsorship offers, music deals, acting roles, etc.
We’ve been waiting for TikTok, Instagram Reels or YouTube Shorts to implement a proper monetization system similar to YouTube’s Partner Program, where creators are paid based on the amount of engagement their video receives via ads.
YouTube Shorts monetization
YouTube Shorts will be part of the YouTube Partner Program early next year. In the next few months, YouTube will figure out exactly how to pay creators. Where YPP revenue is based on the number of views an ad before a video receives, YouTube Shorts ads aren’t placed before every video. Much like the pro-rata system used by music streaming services, YouTube will pool together the entire ad-revenue made on the service and split this between all monetizing Shorts, based on the number of views. We are yet to find out how YouTube will define a view. For example, will YouTube pay for a video that is swiped away half way through, or pay the original creator for a duet/remix of their video?
YouTube are flipping the 55/45 split from the usual YPP share. Creators keep 45% of the revenue (after music rightsholder take their cut), regardless of whether the creator uses music. This system will replace the Shorts Fund. YouTube expect the majority of creators to make more money under the new model.
New YPP Threshold
YouTube launched YouTube Partner Program in 2007. In the past three years, YPP has paid out $50 billion to 2 million monetizing creators, artists and media companies. YouTube hopes to expand the program to 3 million creators by the end of 2023, by introducing a new threshold option for Shorts creators.
Currently creators must have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the past 12 months. This model does not suit Shorts-first creators as the 4,000 watch hours do not include Shorts views, not to mention hours being a poor metric for Shorts views.
YouTube are introducing a new threshold option in 2023: 1,000 subscribers and 10 million Shorts views in the last 90 days. Once creators are in the program, they will receive all of the usual benefits of YPP, including ads on long-form videos.
Making Money on YouTube Outside of YPP
Those that don’t qualify for the program under either model will still be able to make money on YouTube with long-form content, YouTube Shorts and live streams, via Super Thanks, Super Chat, Super Stickers and channel memberships.
YouTube’s tipping feature Super Thanks will be available to a limited group of Shorts creators in autumn 2022, expanding access in the first half of 2023. We are unsure what the requirements will be, but they are reportedly much lower than YPP. These are important tools for those starting to see engagement on Shorts.
More details like how to apply for YPP under the new model and how to turn on monetization for Shorts will come in early 2023.
YouTube has also just announced big changes to videos that use licensed music outside of Shorts, with Creator Music allowing creators to use commercial music and keep a percentage of the revenue.
Today YouTube Shorts sees 30 billion views a day from 1.5 billion monthly logged-in users. If successful, these monetization features could lead to YouTube becoming a true rival to TikTok, with YouTube becoming the all-in-one video platforms for creators looking to make a living.