Google has taken some heat lately for cracking down on YouTube content lately to keep things “advertiser friendly,” including demonetizing videos and channels and even shrinking some of their payout programs. It’s one thing to try that when you’re the only name in town, but with other avenues of on-demand video content, including Twitch and Facebook, that’s caused some creators to contemplate skipping out on YouTube altogether.
To head that off, Google has rolled out some new options for creators to make money to match what some other platforms are doing. There’s a lot of inspiration from Twitch with this new rollout, especially with the new Channel Memberships program. Viewers can pay $4.99 per month to subscribe to a channel to get some bonus stuff, like unique badges, channel-specific emoji, and other perks, just like a subscription on Twitch. This does not mean that you have to pay to subscribe to any channel, but you can look at this like a bonus subscription on top of simply following a channel. The only catch is that a channel needs 100,000 subscribers to be eligible for this.
The other major new feature is Google allowing creators to sell merchandise directly on their channel, giving another opportunity to pull in more revenue. They’re partnering with Teespring to handle the merchandise making it easy to slap logos and designs on t-shirts, phone cases, and more. They can even sell plushies of mascots. The requirement for this kind of partnership is just 10,000 subscribers.
The last thing Google announced was Premieres, a way for content creators to upload and livestream a pre-recorded video for their entire channel all at once. This would allow the community around that creator to watch and talk about a video during a live premiere, even if the creator wasn’t actively doing it live. Think of it like seeing a new movie together with some friends on Friday.
We’ll have to see if these changes are enough to fix some of YouTube’s slightly dirtied reputation this year, but it looks like a good step.