YouTube is adding new ways for content creators to earn money within the site. This comes following an announcement at VidCon 2019 and will be used to compete against the commercial possibilities provided by competitors like Twitch.
YouTube will offer merchandising, expanded memberships, and developed chat features to expand the possibilities for creators to profit from their content, when previously CPM advertising and off-site merchandising were the leading options.
Super Chat, a service launched in 2017 for viewers to pay to pin comments on live-streams has seen some channels receive $400 per minute of broadcast. Within Super Chat, Super Stickers can be bought by audiences during live events and premieres to show appreciation for the creators. When purchased, an animated sticker will appear in the chat.
"For over 20,000 channels on YouTube, Super Chat is now the primary means of revenue generation," YouTube chief product officer Neal Mohan said in a statement.
Competing against Twitch’s recent news of partnering with Teespring to offer integrated purchasing within the platform, YouTube is now allowing select channels to sell merchandising and other subscriptions within their channel.
This follows a partnership with Crowdmade, DFTBA, Fanjoy, Represent and Rooster Teeth which will allow an embed link below the content linking off-site to products related to the creator.
Mohan explains that channel memberships are now available to anyone with more than 30,000 subscribers, with the hopes of these new features enabling a community growth for creators.
However, while these new features can aid a creator’s commercial gain, it has also given far-right commentators the ability to broadcast hate speech to an entire stream as a result of its paid state.
In April 208, alt-right activist Christopher Cantwell was interviewed by YouTuber Andy Warski following his neo-Nazi comments. A user paid $5 to ask Cantwell about his opinion on undocumented immigrants, with Cantwell replying that there would be “a f***ing woodchipper waiting for them”
Cantwell joked to Warski as one individual spent $500 saying "you guys should have me on more often, you’re getting paid tonight.”
A spokesperson for YouTube commented on this exploitation of the system at the time saying that, “Super Chat is a relatively new feature - it’s a small but growing source of revenue for some creators, and we are re-examining our policies in light of these edge cases.”
YouTube continues to address the problem of toxicity platform. Speaking to The Verge, Mohan added that “we’ve [YouTube] always had a set of policies that define what we would consider hate speech,"
“Essentially, what we’ve done is we’ve broadened the type of content that now qualifies as hate speech. That content is now struck from that platform.”