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YouTube Lets Creators Add Higher-Priced Membership Tiers, Paid ‘Super Stickers’

YouTube is expanding monetization features for its creator base beyond ad revenue — to allow higher-priced channel subscriptions, animated Super Stickers in chat and more merchandise partners — which for some, according to execs, has become a significant chunk of their YouTube income.

YouTube also plans to widen the availability of YouTube Giving, a way for creators to solicit donations to charitable causes, over the next few months.

Neal Mohan, YouTube’s chief product officer, outlined the updates in a keynote Thursday at VidCon US. According to the exec, in early 2018, creator revenue from Super Chat, Channel Memberships and Merch — the latter two which were rolled out a year ago — was nearly zero. Today, he claimed, several thousand channels have more than doubled their total YouTube revenue from those tools in addition to advertising.

Of course, by helping YouTubers make more money, YouTube makes more money. The video giant keeps 30% of membership fees, so it stands to generate more revenue from higher-priced channel subscription tiers. It also takes a cut of Super Chat and merchandise sales.

When YouTube introduced Channel Memberships, it required all plans to be set at one price: $4.99 per month. Now, creators have the ability to set up to five different price points for channel memberships, each with its own perks — which can include access to exclusive live-streams and videos, shout-outs from the creator, unique badges, and emojis.

YouTube has been testing multi-price Channel Members with select creators like the FBE (Fine Brothers Entertainment). FBE’s “React” channel offers the entry-level $4.99 monthly silver tier, which offers badges, custom emoji, the chance to audition, and merch discounts; the $9.99 monthly gold tier, which adds the ability to choose what’s on the “React” poll, additional exclusive content and early access to merch; and the $24.99 monthly diamond tier, which adds the ability for members to choose a topic for an episode and get personalized videos, among other perks. According to Mohan, FBE saw memberships revenue from the channel increase sixfold after introducing the two higher-priced tiers.

Meanwhile, with Super Chat, YouTube lets fans purchase messages that stand out in a live chat during live streams and scheduled premieres. More than 90,000 channels who have received Super Chats, with some streams earning more than $400 per minute, Mohan claimed. Super Chat is now the No. 1 revenue stream on YouTube for nearly 20,000 channels, he added.

Now YouTube is rolling Super Stickers: paid animated stickers that will come in a variety of designs across different languages and categories, such as gaming, fashion and beauty, sports, music and food.

YouTube shared an example of what Super Stickers look like:

On the Merch front, which lets YouTubers sell products directly from their video pages, YouTube is expanding beyond initial partner Teespring to five new additional ones: Crowdmade, DFTBA, Fanjoy, Represent, and Otter Media’s Rooster Teeth.

YouTube also is planning to expand the availability of YouTube Giving, a fundraising tool that allows creators to use support charitable causes they care about. The platform launched YouTube Giving in beta last year, and now plans to expand it to creators in the U.S. in the coming months. With the feature, creators select a nonprofit to create a fundraising campaign right next to their videos and live streams. Fans can donate directly on YouTube via a “Donate” button.

“YouTube creators are living proof that an open and responsible internet can change the world for the better,” Mohan wrote in a blog post. “We’re going to continue working to give them the tools they need to do that.”

Finally, YouTube announced a new feature called “Learning Playlists” for educational and instructional content creators. The feature lets you divide a collection of videos into chapters around key concepts, starting from beginner to more advanced. In addition, recommendations will be hidden from the watch page on Learning Playlists, which is designed to let viewers focus on the lesson at hand. Initially, YouTube will roll out Learning Playlists with partners including Khan Academy, TED-Ed and Crash Course.

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