The $100 million YouTube Short Film Fund will launch this month.
YouTube will provide creators with up to $10,000 a month to produce popular videos on its TikTok competitor, YouTube Shorts. The company plans to provide $100 million over the next year, with the first payments being made this month.
The fund could mean a lot of money to creators, but the payments are unsecured. The popularity needed to earn money will depend on just how many people are making and watching Shorts each month, and payouts will also depend on where each creator’s audience is located.
YouTube also demands that the videos be original. Reuploads and videos tagged with watermarks from other platforms aka TikTok, Snapchat, or spools disqualify a channel for payouts. The payments are only available in 10 regions for now, including the US, UK, India, and Brazil, among others, and YouTube says it plans on expanding that list “in the future.”
Creators have traditionally been paid for YouTube based on advertisements that run across their videos. There is a direct relationship between the number of ad views and the amount of money they receive. But with Shorts, YouTube doesn’t want to launch an ad in front of each quick clip, so it builds that alternative form of payment to reward creators.
The Shorts fund will eventually be replaced by a “long-term and evolving monetization program,” YouTube product manager Neal Mohan said in today’s set-top box episode. The fund is “a way to move forward and really start to understand” how monetizing should work for creators making these videos. “You essentially consume a short film, so the model must function differently,” Mohan said.
Payment systems like these have become more and more common. TikTok and Snapchat both pay creators based on how popular their videos are, rather than based on advertisements. The result is potentially lucrative for creators, although there is less transparency about what creators can earn in a given month.
For YouTube, the fund offers a means to launch its late effort as an abridged video service. Though TikTok has a huge head start, YouTube is, at the end of the day, YouTube an enormous and hugely popular video platform which could give it an edge as it tries to spin up Shorts.
Mohan said YouTube would not force creators to use short films to increase their overall commitment to the platform. “Our goal is to provide a voice for every creator,” Mohan said in Decoder. “If the creator wants to do it through a two-hour documentary about something they care about, then YouTube should be the place to do it. If they want to do it through a 15-second short film, which mixes their favorite hit of their favorite music artists, they should be able to do it.”