YouTube has launched the beta version of a membership gifting tool, similar to Twitch, for select content creators. There is so much to unpack here that one newsletter may not be enough.
Currently, creators on the video sharing platform mostly rely on ad revenue. It takes an individual, sometimes several years of making content to earn even a dime. This development will change that and reduce this wait time. When the full-scale version of this tool is launched, any new creator can introduce his own paid membership and start earning instantly, provided their content is good. Creators also won’t have to rely on platforms like Patreon and YouTube itself that charge 5 to 12 per cent and 30 per cent respectively, for direct support options.
Secondly, creators won’t have to focus on mass appeasement when making videos. They can direct their focus to their paid members and they will have a target audience that they can dedicate themselves to. This will help them in retaining these limited number of individuals and increase their content quality. This will also weed out people who have unnecessarily crowded the ecosystem.
Like everything else in the digital world, this development comes with its own set of endless problems. To start with, YouTube, unlike most video platforms, has democratised content consumption. Its 2.6 billion users are used to just opening YouTube and finding every kind of video content that they can fathom to consume. From toddlers being addicted to watching YouTube while eating, to teenagers finding teachers from around the world to help them with their doubts, to adults using the platform to learn the most basic of tasks, YouTube currently is for everyone who knows how to operate a smartphone.
All this will change, as soon as this feature is rolled out for everyone, because every creator would want to monetise their efforts and that would leave out people with no means to pay, in the cold.
The concept of viral videos will be lost since audiences will not be able to share the videos they like with their friends and family. There are several examples of famous creators whose career took off after one of their videos went viral. This will make it very difficult for creators to increase their reach unless YouTube also changes the algorithm accordingly.
The audience will not forgive easily, if the quality of content wavers. There will be no second and third chances for creators. Anyone who will pay for the subscription, will always expect the best kind of videos making it more difficult for creators to survive.
There is a lot to discuss with respect to this announcement. For now, we will have to wait and see how the beta version tests out.
– Reda Fatma Mobin
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