YouTube tries to get video stars off their advertising addiction

Some YouTube Creators are not happy about the 'small and brief' experiment with auto-generated thumbnails. — AFP Relaxnews

YouTube has a message for thousands of creators who work with the digital video giant: Advertising isn’t the only way to make money. 

On July 11, the Google unit unveiled new ways for video producers to generate revenue beyond ads. One new feature, Super Stickers, allows viewers to buy tiny animations that show up in live chats during some videos. New Channel Membership tiers let fans pay five different monthly fees to access special perks, such as exclusive live streams and extra clips. YouTube also expanded a feature for creators to sell more merchandise. 

The announcement came at VidCon, a conference in Anaheim, California, for social-media celebrities and fans. The new YouTube tools are designed to keep lucrative stars and viewers from ditching YouTube for rival services from Facebook Inc, Inc’s Twitch and others. 

At the event last year, YouTube introduced Super Chat, a feature that let fans pay to have messages appear more prominently during live streams. About 20,000 YouTube channels now get more revenue from this tool than ads, the company said on July 11. 

“They’re really a portfolio,” Neal Mohan, YouTube’s chief product officer, said. “Some content is better suited for these different types of monetisation, and we want to have the full gamut.” 

In recent years, some creators have complained about falling payouts from YouTube. The company limited the number of videos that can run ads after a backlash from some marketers over inappropriate content on the service. YouTube, like Alphabet Inc’s Google, makes most of its money from ads. Subscription efforts have produced mixed results. – Bloomberg

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