Shreyas Kulkarni

Turning clicks into cash: Hipi offers a monetary lifeline to short-form video creators 

Its ‘Creator Select Program’ lets creators earn money using a simple metric; more clicks, more moolah.

There are creators and creators. This is about the latter. This is about the ones who night after night worked on doling out high-quality videos that went on to earn millions of views, and in return, the creators soon started raking in crores every year.

We (afaqs!) exaggerate but not too much. The creator profession has boomed and turned many into millionaires. While many earn money through brand deals once they became famous, most if not all started their creator journey through YouTube.

The Google-owned platform monetised the better-performing videos by showing ads before and in between the videos. YouTube shares a part of the revenue from these ads with the creators.

This was the first phase of the creator ecosystem. Short-form videos dominate the second phase of a creator’s life, but unfortunately, there is nearly no YouTube-like monetisation program among the several short-form video apps.

For starters, “short-video apps don't lend themselves to the kind where an ad could be shown before the video starts, or interrupt the user in between a video,” says GBS Bindra, chief business officer, Hipi, a short-video app.

Second, he talks about the only source of income for short-video creators i.e., brand deals. He feels such opportunities were not forthcoming to every creator. “Even the value of these videos has started to fall because people realised brands can pay anyone to get any video done.”

Bindra’s Hipi, as an alternative to this predicament amongst other factors, has launched a monetisation program – Creator Select Program.

This monetisation offering that goes into a few crores, similar to YouTube, lets creators earn money by including click-throughs on inspiring products that appear in their videos. More the clicks, the more the commission for the creator.

For instance, a dance video on the Hipi app goes viral. The lead dancer is wearing a cap which many like. A click-through to buy the cap appears at the bottom of the video; the more taps on the click-through, the more the compensation for the creator.  

(L-R) Video plays on app, click on visual link, choose product, get directed to e-comm site for purchase.
(L-R) Video plays on app, click on visual link, choose product, get directed to e-comm site for purchase.

Hipi does not earn affiliate commissions and only acts as a place of discovery. “We show the ad, like YouTube, but are not responsible for the sale.”

The short-form app had opened the program for the first 100 creators and has now opened it to more aspiring creators, but there is a catch.

A creator must be 18 years or older, have a baseline of 1,000 followers, and have at least a total of 50,000 views on the videos posted.

GBS Bindra
GBS Bindra

Hipi’s creators are spread across the country but the app mainly focuses on metros, Tier I and II regions. “We are not focused on the top 10 million, we are focused on the next 70 million,” says Bindra.

The app, as per its chief business officer, enjoys 40 million monthly active users (MAUs). He says Hipi will finish the year at 65 million MAUs.

The best-performing categories on Hipi right now belong to beauty, fashion, accessories, personal care, electronics, and home care.

When one clicks on the link at the bottom of the video, they are taken to a brand or marketplace site to buy the product. “Whichever products would pay us the most, we direct the traffic to them like the rest of the ad tech world,” explains Bindra when asked on how the app decides which link to show at the bottom of a video to a user.

Hipi works with the likes of Flipkart, Amazon, Myntra, Himalaya, Asian Paints, and nearly every e-commerce company.

“We start the discovery process for brands,” remarks Bindra explaining the symbiotic relationship the app shares with the brands.

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