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YouTube adds TikTok competitor Shorts to its Partner Program

Tim Baysinger
Sep 21, 2022
Illustration of the Youtube and TikTok app logos battling in a comic book style.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

YouTube is betting that marrying a new revenue sharing model for YouTube Shorts with its existing creator roster will make it TikTok's chief competition in the short-form video space.

Why it matters: TikTok has dominated short-form video and essentially forced other social media platforms to create their own versions of the popular ByteDance-owned service.

Driving the news: On Tuesday, YouTube unveiled a bunch of new additions to its YouTube Partner Program, including a new revenue-sharing model for its TikTok clone YouTube Shorts that will begin early next year.

  • YouTube will pool all the money it makes from ads that air in between Shorts videos and allocate 45% of that to creators, which will be distributed based on creators' share of total Shorts views.
  • Shorts-focused creators can now apply to the Partner Program if they meet a threshold of 1,000 subscribers and 10 million views over a 90-day period. YouTube will also introduce lower-level access to YPP for smaller creators.
  • Additionally, YouTube will launch a new music licensing platform called Creator Music later this year. It will give creators the option to either pay for a license to use in their video or share their revenue with music rights holders.

The big picture: A pioneer in online video, YouTube is trying avoid becoming irrelevant as social media companies have led the short-form video revolution. That starts by keeping their creators on YouTube.

  • "The need for having tools that support our creators around that format is something I hear every day," Neal Mohan, YouTube's chief product officer, told creators and journalists during an event Tuesday in Los Angeles.
  • YouTuber Kris Collins said that most creators had to balance doing Shorts, which can appeal to potential new subscribers, with their long-form content that brought in revenue. "So there's been sort of a trade-off," she said Tuesday.
  • But now? "I'll be able to make a living from both formats."

Between the lines: Despite the growing popularity of the short-form format, many creators find it difficult to make the same kind of money that they can in long form, which features a more lucrative revenue-sharing model.

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