It’s not summer yet, but short-form video is HOT, and the competition is getting fierce. YouTube, who recently rolled out its answer to TikTok – YouTube Shorts – has now launched a $100 million fund for short-form video creators, to be paid out this year and next. YouTube Shorts originally launched in India in beta last fall, but it is now available across the U.S., and YouTube is eager for creators to jump on board.
“Since Shorts is a new way to watch and create on YouTube, we’ve been taking a fresh look at what it means to monetize and reward creators for their content. Today, we’re sharing the latest updates here as we continue to build Shorts alongside our community of creators and artists,” said Amy Singer, director of global partnership enablement for YouTube Shorts, in a blog post yesterday.
YouTube says that anyone is eligible to participate in the fund by creating their own unique videos, provided they meet community guidelines. YouTube will reach out directly to creators who get the most engagement and views. In addition to helping fund those creators, YouTube will ask for feedback on their Shorts' experience to further improve the product. YouTube said they will release more details about how the fund will work in the coming months.
YouTube said the Shorts Fund is one way for creators to monetize their work, which the company says is a “top priority.” They also admit that it may take some time before they figure out the best way to monetize content, and they are eager for feedback from Shorts creators. They’ll use this input to help them design a program that meets the creators’ needs, as well as YouTube’s.
“YouTube has helped an entire generation of creators and artists turn their creativity into businesses. We’ve paid more than $30 billion to creators, artists, and media companies over the last three years, and we remain deeply committed to supporting the next generation of mobile creators with Shorts,” Singer said.
Understand what you need to master to be successful at your subscription business.
Testing new features
As they learn more about what’s popular and what needs work, YouTube is rolling out new features in Shorts, helping them to better compete with TikTok, Snapchat’s Spotlight and Instagram Reels. Some of the new features include:
- The ability to remix audio from videos across YouTube, previewed earlier this year
- Automatically add captions to video Shorts
- Record up to 60 seconds using the Shorts camera
- Add clips from phone photo galleries to add to Shorts videos
- Add basic filters to correct the color in videos
- Expand Shorts player “across more surfaces” to assist with discoverability
- Test and iterate on ads to understand what works
“We’re excited to continue building Shorts as we work on longer-term monetization solutions, and will provide more updates as we go. We look forward to hearing your feedback,” Singer wrote.
$200 million TikTok Creator Fund
Last August, TikTok announced the creation of a $200 million fund to support the work of creators. U.S. creators who are 18 years of age or older can apply. To be eligible, the creators must consistently post original content in line with TikTok’s Community Guidelines. The fund will be distributed over the next year, and TikTok expects the fund to grow over time. TikTok did not specify how funds will be distributed or give specifics about when or how much.
“TikTok is a platform rooted in creativity. While the past few months have been challenging for many, we've been awed by the outpouring of empathy, humor, and truly uplifting content from our users. We love seeing community form on TikTok in uniquely expressive ways. The growth of relatable content, and the entertaining and refreshing experience on the app, is a direct testament to the spirit and creativity of our talented creators,” said Vanessa Pappas, general manager for TikTok U.S., said when the announcement was made last summer
Much like podcasts, the short-form video wars are on. It started with the popularity of TikTok which now has an estimated 73.7 million users in the U.S., according to Statista. It will take YouTube Shorts quite some time to achieve that level of popularity and, like with every platform, it is all about the content and community. Users want to see content that is unique and entertaining, and they want to feel like they are part of an online community with similar interests. With so much competition, there is room for all the players to find an audience, but TikTok has a huge head start.