Starting this month, YouTubers in select countries can vie for a piece of the $100 million YouTube Shorts Fund — if their creations rise to the top of the heap of the most-viral clips.
Every month, YouTube says, it will select thousands of eligible creators to claim a payment from the fund, which marks the first step in its efforts to monetize the short-form, TikTok-like video feature. Creators who meet the criteria can make anywhere from $100 to $10,000 based on viewership and engagement of their Shorts, which can be up to 60 seconds in length.
The $100 million YouTube Shorts Fund will be distributed through the remainder of 2021 and into 2022. YouTube says it will notify creators who qualify for a bonus payment from the Shorts Fund the second week of each month in the YouTube app; they will then have until the 25th of the month to claim the bonus payment before it expires.
YouTube Shorts launched globally last month after earlier rollouts in the U.S. and other countries, latching onto the huge popularity of ByteDance’s TikTok app (which also has been copied in Instagram’s Reels and Snapchat’s Spotlight). Google says YouTube Shorts has quickly become a worldwide hit: The feature now generates more than 15 billion global daily views, up from 6.5 billion in March, Alphabet/Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced last week.
For now, only creators in 10 countries are eligible to receive YouTube Shorts Fund payments: the U.S., U.K., Brazil, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia and South Africa. “We plan to expand eligibility to more countries/regions soon,” YouTube says.
All of a creator’s YouTube Shorts videos will count toward their Shorts performance each month that they receive views (not just the month they were uploaded). The bonus payment amounts will be adjusted based on a channel’s total Shorts performance and their audience’s location. The level of performance needed to qualify for a bonus payment may differ between creators (based on audience location for example) and may change from month to month “due to fluctuations in audience location and the number of creators making Shorts,” YouTube says.
With the launch of the Shorts Fund, creators now have 10 different ways to make money on YouTube. In addition the YouTube Partner Program for ad-revenue sharing, those are: revenue sharing from YouTube Premium; Channel Memberships; Super Chat; Super Stickers; Super Thanks; merchandise sales; concert ticketing; and YouTube BrandConnect (previously known as FameBit) to connect creators with sponsors.
“YouTube has evolved from being just a place where people upload and share videos,” Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s chief business officer, wrote in a blog post today. “It’s now a destination where creators can find new audiences, connect with fans in different ways and build growing businesses.”
To qualify for payouts from the Shorts Fund, channels must have uploaded at least one eligible Short in the last 180 days. They also must conform to YouTube’s Community Guidelines, copyright rules and monetization policies. In addition, creators must be 13 or older in the U.S. (or the “age of majority” in their country/region) and must accept terms of the program and link to an active Google AdSense account to receive the bonus payments.
Excluded from payment eligibility are YouTube Shorts that include non-original content, such as videos reuploaded from other channels, as well as videos with watermarks or logos from third-party social platforms.