YouTube Has Unveiled a New Monetization Plan for Shorts
In a move seen as an attempt to take on TikTok’s dominance in the short-form video content space, YouTube has just unveiled a new plan to monetize its growing Shorts platform. Replacing the current Shorts Fund, YouTube has announced that it will soon deliver 45% of ad revenue generated from Shorts to creators. Unlike long-form content where creators are paid a split based on the ad revenue directly generated from their content, Shorts payments will be “distributed based on the number of views their Shorts get in each country.” This is because ads on Shorts actually play in between pieces of content in the feed.
Also notable regarding the Shorts monetization is that creators will still be eligible even if their Shorts content utilizes copyrighted music. However, in an interview with Philip DeFranco, YouTube Creator Liason Rene Ritchie stated that the music licensing associated with the platform will be paid out first before the 45-55 split.
While this partially makes sense, some might have assumed that this expense was already factored into YouTube’s 55% cut, hence why the Shorts 45% creator payout is lower than the 55% that creators earn from long-form content on the platform. Alas, it seems that’s not quite the case, which could be disappointing to creators — especially those who won’t be using music in their content anyway.
While we’re talking music, another feature YouTube announced in their latest update is the ability for creators to license music. This will give them the option to pay upfront for the use of a copyrighted song and then retain their full share of the ad revenue generated by their content rather than being forced to share revenue with the rightsholder. Of course, creators will also still be able to choose from the free-to-use tracks in the YouTube audio library as well.
Going back to Shorts monetization, with this new push, YouTube is also adjusting the requirements for the YouTube Partner Program. As you may recall, in order to join the program, long-form creators must have at least 1,000 subscribers and at least 4,000 hours of watch time on their channel over the past 12 months. Now (well, starting in 2023), while the same 1,000 subscriber threshold will still apply, those who have at least 10 million Short views over the past 90 days will be able to apply for the Partner Program as well. According to YouTube, even if a creator joins the program under the new Shorts criteria, they’ll then be able to run ads on long-form content as well. Meanwhile, for those still striving to hit the 4,000-hour watch time milestone instead, it should be noted that views of Shorts in the Short Feed will not count toward that figure.
Overall, as a YouTube creator, I think this move to better monetize Shorts is great news. In fact, the announcement has motivated me to revisit an idea I had to start creating Short content on the platform (although I still have to nail down exactly what that would look like). Beyond the potential opportunity to benefit directly from these updates, I’m also just happy to see YouTube doing what it can to remain relevant. So, while it remains to be seen how exactly his new initiative will work, I’m very interested and excited to see it implemented.