In an attempt to turn the tide in the war that it’s losing against Twitch, YouTube is to introduce Twitch-like channel subscriptions.
For $4.99 viewers will in return receive subscriber-exclusive content like badges and emojis. Creators will also be able to offer additional perks such as extra videos, exclusive streams and shoutouts. The option will be open only to those in the YouTube Partner Program and with 100,000+ subscribers.
It’s not yet known what cut of the subscription fees creators will receive.
YouTube is also introducing a product carousel for those wanting to pimp their merch – it won’t take a cut from these sales, either. Currently Teespring is the only partner but others are expected to come on board.
“We really spent a lot of times with creators,” YouTube’s senior director of product management Rohit Dhawan told Polygon. “These last two years, it’s been a ton of conversations with small and large creators. All my inspiration is going to come from what they have said they would like this product to kind of be.
We're definitely not just copying Twitch. Nope. Nada. No way.
“The thing that I think that makes us distinct is how incredibly customizable this is," he added. "The perks that the creator comes up with is a blank slate. We just listened to our creators and viewers, and this is what they thought would actually help them the most. That’s really where the inspirations come from.
“I’ve been working on it for a long time. We’ve been testing these features and they’ve reached a certain level of success, so it’s very much inspired by the fact that it was just a great opportunity to help creators make more money.”
The news follows confirmation yesterday that Facebook is also offering a paid subscription service. Of course, these platforms don’t want to be seen to be actively reducing their reliance on advertisers – a point actively stressed by YouTube’s chief product officer Neal Mohan.
“As in previous years, the vast majority of the revenue is coming from our advertising partners,” he said. “We’ll continue investing here, but we also want to think beyond ads. Creators should have as many ways and opportunities to make money as possible.”