More details have emerged about the new YouTube Applause donation feature.
Earlier this week, Digital Music News broke the story of YouTube Applause, a feature still in limited beta. Now, more details are spilling forth.
In a nutshell, YouTube is now following in Twitch’s footsteps by offering viewers the ability to support creators. YouTube calls the feature Applause, with users buying claps for their favorite creators. A small $2 donation gives users a clapping animation for their supported videos.
Viewer applause is only available in beta, and you must be invited by YouTube to test Applause.
The feature could offer another pathway for creators to make money from their videos. But monetization remains extremely tricky and frustrating, even for YouTube’s biggest stars. Over the years, YouTube’s Adpocalypse trend of demonetizing troublesome videos has spawned lots of contention. Some creators aren’t told why their videos are demonetized, while whole channels have had their income removed.
Currently, YouTube Applause is only available to channels with more than 100,000 subscribers. These channels have to opt into the feature through the YouTube Dashboard. Fans will then see a donate button to support their favorite creator.
Fans can spend up to $500 per day, or $2,000 per week on Super Chats, Super Stickers, and viewer applause. The limit is likely to reduce abuse of the feature.
The whole idea leans heavily on ideas already developed on Twitch. Twitch streamers earn a large part of their income from donations directly from their viewers.
YouTube takes 30% of donations made through SuperChat and its new viewer applause feature. That means the average $2 donation puts $0.60 in YouTube’s pocket before the creator. (YouTube is already getting most of the ad revenue too, why do they need to skim donations?)
This new direction shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who is listening – just recently, CEO Sundar Pichai outlined this direction. In a recent call with investors, Pichai confirmed that his company is looking into alternative monetization practices. Pichai specifically mentions YouTube as a potential area where those monetization practices could come into play.