YouTube is launching a $100 million fund to compensate creators of Shorts, its take on TikTok, and has hinted that it will soon begin testing ads on these short, vertical, looping clips in earnest, as the world’s largest source of online video tries to figure out how payments could make Shorts more competitive to its viral, upstart rival.
The $100 million fund will be distributed over the course of this year and next, and it will be available in the “coming months,” according to a blog post published by YouTube on Tuesday.
YouTube also stated that Shorts are becoming more widely available across its service, such as by including Shorts in the feed of content from channels you subscribe to and by adding a Shorts tab in the bottom row of the mobile app. Finally, it mentioned some product updates, such as the ability to remix audio from videos across YouTube, as well as automatically adding captions, recording up to 60 seconds with the Shorts camera, adding clips from your phone’s gallery to add to your recordings, and adding basic color-correction filters.
Google’s massive video site is the latest tech behemoth attempting to capitalize on the craze surrounding TikTok, the social video app owned by Chinese company Bytedance. After Facebook shut down another want tobe, Lasso, last year, Instagram launched its own TikTok clone, Reels, in August.
YouTube’s Shorts fund is another page from TikTok’s playbook, according to Google. TikTok launched a creators fund last year, with plans to pay out more than $1 billion to TikTokers in the United States and more than double that to TikTokers worldwide over the next three years.
To put YouTube’s $100 million fund for Shorts creators into perspective, YouTube ads generate approximately $100 million in revenue in about a day and a half on average in Google’s most recent quarter. In the year and a half that YouTube will pay out $100 million from this Shorts fund, YouTube will pay out approximately $15 billion to everyone else who qualifies to make money there.
However, the billions of dollars paid to YouTube uploaders represent a track record of YouTube directly paying its creators, which TikTok has only dabbled with thus far. TikTok stars who make the most money do so through sponsorships and brand deals, not TikTok itself. Both YouTube and TikTok are evasive about who and how much is paid.
YouTube stated that the fund will be used to reward “thousands of creators whose Shorts received the most engagement and views” each month. More information about payment distribution will be available as the fund’s launch date approaches in the coming months, according to the company.
TikTok has stated that its creator fund payments are calculated by taking into account factors such as number of views, video engagement, location of views, and total number of program participants, among others.
Anyone who posts Shorts is eligible to earn money from the new fund, according to YouTube, as long as they follow the community guidelines. TikTok’s creator fund, on the other hand, has eligibility requirements such as being at least 18 years old and having 100,000 followers and 100,000 video views in the last 30 days.