After first announcing its 'Shorts Fund' back in May, which will see the platform pay out $100 million to top Shorts creators over time, in order to provide additional support, and motivation, for their efforts, YouTube has now announced an expansion of the funding program to Shorts creators in even more regions.
Our @YouTube #shorts Fund is coming to to 30+ more countries, including Argentina, Australia, Canada, Egypt, Germany, Italy, South Korea and so many more. We're always looking to expand how we support creators around the world! pic.twitter.com/Mx1XjJMDVE— Neal Mohan (@nealmohan) September 29, 2021
As per YouTube Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan, the Shorts Fund is now available in over 30 new regions.
Creators in these countries will now be able to get a piece of that big chunk of funding, with YouTube paying out between $100 and $10,000 each month to channels based on the performance of their TikTok-like Shorts clips.
But ‘performance’ in this context is not entirely clear:
“There’s no specific performance threshold to qualify for a bonus. The level of performance needed to qualify for a bonus payment may change from month to month based on various factors, including the location of your viewers and the overall growth of Shorts.”
So YouTube can’t say what you need to do to get that Shorts cash. But the idea is that by holding out the carrot of immediate cash payouts, that will motivate more YouTubers to at least give Shorts a try, which could keep them posting to YouTube, instead of migrating to TikTok instead.
Facebook’s also trying the same, with a new Reels funding program, while Snapchat has seen good success with its Spotlight funding, which initially saw it paying out $1 million per day to incentivize Spotlight content.
But that did also sour fairly quickly. A few months into the program, Snapchat reduced its payout amounts, which impacted creators who had quickly built a reliance on funding. Some Spotlight creators have since reported delays in payment and other issues, which has left them feeling jilted by the app – so while it can be a solid lure (Spotlight rose to 125 million users), such programs can also backfire if creators end up working specifically for those payouts, and the platforms, when they look to reduce associated costs, haven’t established a process that can effectively replace that reduced income.
Which is an inherent challenge with short-form video. You can’t add pre or mid-roll ads to 30-second clips, so in order to generate more creator interest, the platforms are reliant on direct funding like this, in order to boost interest in such options. Ideally, that also buys them some time to establish new monetization routes – like brand partnerships or eCommerce listings - but if those pathways don’t solidify, there will come a time when creators will lose income as a result of any such changes.
But still, the potential of $10k per month will no doubt generate major interest. And maybe, if YouTube can get more people posting Shorts clips, that will boost the option, and make it a bigger consideration, which, again, will keep its top stars at home, instead of considering TikTok instead.
And with TikTok rising to a billion users, its lure is strong, and you can bet that many creators, from many platforms, are also now at least dipping their toes in the TikTok waters, and eyeing its next developments to monetize their efforts.
Can Shorts offer similar reach potential – and will creators even care about Shorts, when they have TikTok instead?
I mean, YouTube says that Shorts is already generating 6.5 billion daily views, so the potential is there. Maybe, then, through more funding options, it will become a bigger element of the app, and maybe YouTube will be better placed to lead the Shorts Fund into more paid options built into its broader platform offering.
You can read more about YouTube’s Shorts Fund here.