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YouTube takes on Instagram, Indian platforms with new monetization options for creators

YouTube takes on Instagram, Indian platforms with new monetization options for creators
Photo Credit: Pixabay
21 Sep, 2022
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On Wednesday, YouTube expanded its creator monetization program to India. In a blog post published earlier today, Amjad Hanif, vice president of YouTube’s creator products, said that  starting early 2023, creators who make Shorts videos can apply for the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) if they have 1,000 subscribers, and deliver either 10 million views in the past 90 days or 4,000 viewed hours in the past 12 months, on YouTube Shorts.

The monetization program will see YouTube introduce advertisements that run in between Shorts video streams. The total ad-generated revenue for YouTube in India will be pooled together, and creators will be given a monthly payout depending on the share of engagement that they bring to Shorts. Of the total ad revenue, YouTube will reserve 45% of it for creators.

According to industry experts, the move is an attempt to popularize YouTube Shorts — a property that has been overshadowed so far by Instagram’s Reels, and YouTube’s own long-form videos.

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Shudeep Majumdar, chief executive of influencer marketing platform Zefmo, said that the YPP may help creators pivot monetizable content “from brand dependent to viewer centric”.

“So far, one challenge with YouTube for creators, in terms of monetizable content, was with the time duration of videos that was required to be published. Instagram has been the absolute preferred platform for creator monetization so far — and India is one of the leading countries on this metric. By introducing monetization, YouTube Shorts could see this as well,” he said.

To be sure, Reels, which according to many is the leading platform for short videos in the country, does not have its own monetization program. Creators on the platform rely on brand collaborations to earn from their content.

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“So far, only about 1% of all influencers around the world earn anything substantial from their content — which the YPP initiative may help improve,” Majumdar said.

India also has a number of homegrown short video platforms as well, alongside Instagram and YouTube, which include ShareChat’s Moj and VerSe Innovations’ Josh. While these platforms are much smaller than Reels or YouTube Shorts, they too have started offering creators monetization options.

On April 28, ShareChat announced a ‘Moj for Creators’ initiative, which it said will help creators on Moj earn up to ₹3,500 crore by 2025. Moj’s monetization initiative, however, is different — the platform will look to help creators earn through virtual gifting from viewers, live commerce, and other initiatives.

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Abhishek Gupta, engagement manager at market research firm Redseer, said that for the homegrown brands, following a similar monetization model could be difficult. “Following an ad sharing revenue model means that there has to be ample ad revenue in the first place, for a platform to run a successful ad sharing monetization campaign. While the homegrown platforms have started introducing monetization plans and ads as well, the volume and revenue from ads still remain limited,” he said.

Redseer, in a report published on July 22, said that monetization of short videos in India can grow from around $150 million right now, to $19 billion by 2030. Initiatives such as YouTube’s monetization of Shorts would play key roles in helping the industry reach this target.

Creators, including those who are not regular on YouTube, welcomed the move. Shubham Gaur, who has over 3.5 lakh followers on Instagram and 38,000 followers on YouTube, said that such a move would be welcomed, and could see more people cross-post their Reels content to YouTube Shorts as well. Given the nature of Shorts, Gaur added that the ability to cross-post Reels to YouTube could largely benefit creators in the country.

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