YouTube Shorts Tops 5 Trillion Views to Date, Platform to Test Shopping and Branded Content for TikTok-Style Videos

YouTube is touting the explosive popularity of its TikTok-style short-form Shorts video feature — and says it’s going to test out new monetization features for YouTube Shorts creators.

Since first launching YouTube Shorts in September 2020, the Google-owned video giant has served more than 5 trillion short-form videos, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki wrote in a quarterly update to creators Tuesday.

“We’re working every day to improve how we help creators get started and reach an audience faster on Shorts,” Wojcicki wrote.

Last year, YouTube established a $100 million fund for Shorts to encourage people to create videos of up to 60 seconds in length. In August 2021, it began paying creators with the highest-performing YouTube Shorts up to $10,000 per month, and that program is now available in more than 100 countries.

According to Wojcicki, more than 40% of creators who received payment from the YouTube Shorts Fund last year were not in the YouTube Partner Program (YPP), its longstanding ad-revenue sharing program for qualifying creators — in other words, it’s evidence that Shorts is pulling in a different class of creator.

In 2022, YouTube will test new ways for Shorts creators to make money through branded content deals via BrandConnect, YouTube’s program that matches creators with brands. In addition, the video platform is “in the early phases of testing how shopping can be integrated with Shorts,” Wojcicki wrote.

On the product front, YouTube introduced a new remix feature that lets users create Shorts using audio from videos on core YouTube (if the original creator allows it). In the next few months, “we’ll expand this capability with even more exciting ways to remix YouTube’s content,” according to Wojcicki.

In the post, Wojcicki called out creators who are doing “amazing things” on Shorts, including newer creators like Jake Fellman, Lisa Nguyen and Chahat Anand alongside longer-term creators like Colin and Samir.

Other points the CEO addressed in the creator update:

  • Wojcicki defended YouTube’s decision to hide public “dislike” counts, saying that the feature was “harming parts of our ecosystem through dislike attacks.”
  • YouTube is looking to expand the ways creators can make money, including through technologies like nonfungible tokens (NFTs).
  • In 2021, YouTube Channel Memberships and paid digital goods were purchased or renewed more than 110 million times.
  • The number of YouTube channels worldwide making more than $10,000 per year increased 40% year over year (although YouTube hasn’t disclosed how many creators that represents).
  • YouTube supported more than 800,000 jobs in 2020 in the U.S., European Union, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Brazil and Australia, according to research conducted by Oxford Economics.
  • YouTube has been testing live shopping in the U.S., South Korea, and Brazil. In 2022, the platform will “bring shopping to more creators and brands” by partnering with commerce platforms like Shopify.
  • In the third quarter of 2021, YouTube’s Violative View Rate (which represents the percentage of views on YouTube that come from content that violates its policies) was 0.09%-0.11%, a decline of more than 70% since 2017.

In addition, Wojcicki pointed to her op-ed in the Wall Street Journal last summer and reiterated that while YouTube supports government regulations of internet platforms, “we also have concerns about new regulation that could have unintended consequences that would impact the creator community, particularly around the regulation of legal speech.”

One recent development that Wojcicki did not call out was YouTube’s announcement last week that it is winding down its original programming group alongside the exit of Susanne Daniels, global head of original content.

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