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YouTube Announces Money-Makers for Creators and Charities

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For the second year, YouTube’s VidCon address was all about the money. Last year, it debuted several tools creators could use to boost their revenue. This year, it added new options, while also cutting charities into the haul.

Channel memberships, for example, are getting an expansion. YouTube announced channel memberships at VidCon 2018, recalled Neal Mohan, YouTube’s chief product officer, taking the stage again this year. Memberships lets fans show their dedication with dollars, buying special access to favorite creators. This year, YouTube is creating levels of membership. Creators can sell up to five levels of membership, each with its own unique perks and price point. Fine Brothers Entertainment has been testing the feature and has seen a 6x increase in revenue after adding two higher tiers, Mohan said.

Building on last year’s announcement of merchandise partners, which lets creators design and sell branded merchandise to fans, Mohan announced five new merchandise companies are joining the program. In addition to Teespring, Crowdmade, DFTBA, Fanjoy, Represent, and Rooster Teeth are now available to creators.

Building on last year’s announcement of Super Chat, which lets fans buy the ability to have their comments stand out in live discussions, YouTube is launching Super Stickers, which will let fans express themselves with on-screen animated graphics. These will come in different categories (such as gaming, fashion and beauty, sports, music, and food) and be available in multiple languages.

These features let fans stand out, but even more importantly they generate new revenue streams for creators. If top creators can make a good living from YouTube, they’ll less likely to branch out to other platforms. “We want YouTube to be the best place for you to build a business,” Mohan said.

But not all of this year’s announcements were about revenue. Mohan also announced that YouTube Giving—a tool that lets creators raise money for charities—is moving out of beta and will be available to more creators in the coming months. Creators can put a Donate button on their videos and live streams to support a charity they care about, with all money raised going to the cause.

Mohan also announced a new educational tool called Learning Playlists, which lets education channels set up detailed outlines broken into chapters, with the goal of guiding students through progressively more difficult lessons. Learning Playlists will hide recommendations from their watch pages to keep students from being distracted. YouTube is opening this to only a few trusted partners at the start, including Khan Academy, TED-Ed, and Crash Course. It will collect feedback and expand the program in the future. Mohan noted that 80% of Generation Z teens say they’ve used YouTube for learning.

Finally, in a small nod to the many user and brand safety challenges YouTube has experienced in the past years, Mohan said “responsibility is our number one priority,” while acknowledging that progress sometimes comes slower than people would like. The company will update its creator-on-creator harassment policy sometime later this year, he said. Progress is slow on YouTube, and it doesn’t sound like it will come any quicker in the last half of 2019.

Photo: Neal Mohan at VidCon 2019.

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