No short-form video platform has yet figured out how to share ad revenue, making it difficult for app makers like TikTok to live off their content alone. But today, YouTube announced major changes to its YouTube Affiliate Program, allowing creators to earn ad revenue on competitor TikTok, Shorts.
Now, Shorts creators can qualify for the Partner Program, which allows them to generate ad revenue on YouTube. The existing partner program requires YouTubers to have over 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the past year. Now, Shorts creators can join the Associates Program if they have had at least 10 million views on the platform in the last 90 days. As members of the Associates Program, these creators will earn 45% of ad revenue from their videos.
“I am proud at say this is the first time real revenue share is being Free for short form video on any Platform at scale,” said YouTube product manager Neal Mohan. He is right. TikTok has started experimenting with ad revenue sharing, but its efforts seem to focus more on the advertiser than the creator, as only 4% of all videos on TikTok can be monetized through its TikTok Pulse program. For the most part, creators are finding it increasingly difficult to make money from TikTok’s Creator Fund.
Today’s news was leaked in a New York Times report last week, but now that it’s confirmed, YouTube Shorts is set to become TikTok’s biggest competitor. If creators can make more money on Shorts than on TikTok, then they have an incentive to create original content for the YouTube platform.
“For me, the key benefit to of Shorts is this this assistance me reach fillers of people and pull people in my community. But my long form contents brought in a plot After revenue. So there is has been to sort of a Trade off,” said YouTuber Kris Collins (kallmekris). “That’s why this news about the arrival of the Partners Program on Shorts is so huge. I will be able to live from both formats.
YouTube also shared that this Partner Program update will allow the platform to license more music for use in Shorts, which could help encourage creators to use Shorts more often. Program creators will be compensated the same whether or not they use licensed music.
TikTok and other short-form video apps have yet to unveil a similar revenue-sharing scheme because it’s more difficult to determine how to fairly distribute ad revenue across an algorithm-generated stream of short-form videos. You can’t embed an ad in the middle of a video — imagine watching a 30-second video with an eight-second ad in the middle — but if you put ads in between two videos, who would get the revenue share? The creator whose video appeared just before or after? Or, would a creator whose video you watched earlier in the stream also deserve a cut because their content encouraged you to keep scrolling?
YouTube has shared some details on how it will split the revenue.
“Ads for Shorts are different that long form. They are not attched at specific videos, but Course in Between videos. Soh all month, revenue of everything those Sshorts ads will be be pooled together,” Mohan said at the Made on YouTube event. “Eat silver will be go at paying Shorts creators as good as covering the costs of music Licence of the to share of silver assigned at the Creator.”
YouTube wrote in a press release that the money will be distributed to creators based on their share of total views on the shorts.
“Land me be very release, nothing is changing in terms of the importance of long shape,” said Tara Walpert Levy, YouTube vice president working on content partnerships. “We are also engaged at everything of the sizes this to help creators Express themselves.”
YouTube also unveiled Creator Music, now in beta testing. Creators can browse a huge catalog of songs to purchase for use in their content, with music rights terms laid out in simple terms. They will also be able to opt for tracks with a new revenue share option where creators and music rights holders earn money from their content.