YouTube Shorts now has 1.5 billion-plus monthly logged-in users globally, and generates 30 billion views per day, four times more than the past year.
YouTube Shorts has managed to lower the barriers for under-represented voices across India. It is something that may not have happened through any other app or platform. Youngsters, from small towns and the hinterland, are creating loads of content for the Google-owned platform.
“When we first launched Shorts (in September 2020), we knew that it would represent a whole new format in YouTube’s repertoire for the creators to leverage. It has been amazing to see the many new ways in which Shorts is helping supercharge a creator’s existing channel,” says Ajay Vidyasagar, regional director, APAC, YouTube Partnerships.
The platform has provided a boost to many existing popular genres. Newer ones that include facts and motivation, science and experiments, infotainment, arts and culture, among others, have also emerged.
Bringing the benefits of YouTube Partner Program to Shorts
The YouTube Partner Program (YPP) was launched in 2007. The creators can now have a share of YouTube’s revenue and earn money by creating content. As per Vidyasagar, in 2007, the platform only had one creative format: ‘the traditional horizontal video’.
YouTube recently introduced the next chapter of rewarding creativity on its platform. Starting in early 2023, Shorts-focused creators can apply for YPP by meeting a threshold of 1,000 subscribers and 10 million Shorts views, over 90 days. YouTube will add the revenues generated from the ads to the Shorts feed and pay a share to the creators at the end of the month.
From the overall amount allocated to creators, they will keep 45% of the revenue. This revenue will be distributed based on the creator’s share of total Shorts views. These new partners will enjoy all the benefits that the program offers, including the various ways to make money, like ads on long-form content and through fan funding.
Why a change in YouTube’s policy, gives it an edge over other platforms
Aditya Gurwara, co-founder - brand alliances, Qoruz (an influencer marketing software), points out that many home-grown short video platforms will come up shortly to create a content monetisation model.
Gurwara says, “While there are already enough creators on YouTube, there will be more of them on the platform in the future. The ones who are currently just making long-format content, will eventually concentrate on short-form content as well.”
Usually, creators cross-post content on different short video platforms. Will the revenue sharing model enable YPP creators to make specialised or unique content for Shorts?
As per Hitarth Dadia, partner and CMO, NOFILTR.Group, while it’s alright for creators on Shorts to cross-post content on different short video platforms, YPP’s revenue sharing model will allow them to create organic content.
“With the ad revenue coming in, the creators will have a stable flow of income. This means that they will have the creative liberty to do exactly what they want to without a brand controlling what they do,” adds Dadia.
Pratik Gupta, co-founder, Zoo Media, adds that cross-promotion will not stop, but increase, because different platforms have different revenue models. “Each platform has a different set of audiences, and whether the content is different or not, we’ll see with time. But the YouTube database (music and other content), which is search-led, may lead to different use cases.”
What may make a lot creators to migrate to, or rather choose, YouTube for short-form content over other platforms, is its transparent mechanism of payments. As per a few industry sources, platforms like Moj and MX TakaTak were earlier paying creators to be on their platforms. As of September 15, 2022, all these deals have been scrapped. This questions the credibility of the home-grown platform.
By monetising Shorts, YouTube is not only setting a precedent for other short video platforms, but this move will also push YouTube to become the market leader in the short video market. In order to compete in the same sphere, other short video platforms will have to find a way to incentivise creators to use their platform and provide content for user consumption.
Advertising push on YouTube
Keeping in mind the massy content, viewership, subscriber base and variety of genres on Shorts, brands are more interested in collaborating with creators (for Shorts). The content on the platform appeals to audiences across regions.
Apart from putting ads between Shorts, Gurwara of Qoruz says that brands will also increasingly collaborate with content creators for their shorts videos. He points out that the platform has a large penetration in India and the fact that the app is pre-installed on Android phones by default, gives it an advantage of scale.
In terms of advertising with Shorts, brands want more views and clicks on their ads, which can lead to conversion and drive sales. “Taking into consideration the user base as well as the needs and purchasing power-related data of the users, YouTube can be used to place target ads. Brands are also seeking digital ads that lead users to their website encouraging them to buy,” Dadia explains.
The next step in formalising the influencer economy
Influencer market is an ever-growing industry. India’s new Income Tax Laws for influencers, have already given proper recognition to the influencer economy. YouTube’s updated policy of monetising Shorts, is expected to fuel the conversation of formalising the Indian influencer economy.
Gupta of Zoo Media elaborates, “Influencer economy is more organised than we give it credit for. Some creators and agencies like to portray it to be less formalised, as it's advantageous for business. YouTube’s incentivisation model for Shorts is going to make Google and YouTube the preferred platforms for content creators, and put pressure on other platforms (short form or not) to create programs like this.”