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YouTube introduces Twitch-style sponsorship service for streamers

Trials of the $4.99 per month model have proven successful as platform abandons paid channel service

YouTube has announced a new sponsorship model for streamers to monetise their channel. Fans can now purchase digital goods and support their favourite creators with a monthly payment of $4.99.

YouTube has enjoyed steady growth this year. According to StreamLabs, the number of active streamers nearly doubling to 114,900 in the first first six months. That said, its popularity still languishes behind Twitch, which boasts an impressive 399,500. The move towards subscriptions could be the key to closing the gap by providing a more stable source of income for content creators.

The new sponsorship model will replace the ill-fated paid channel service which launched in 2013. According to YouTube Product Manager Barbara Macdonald, less than 1% of eligible channels adopted paid channels and it never achieved popularity.

Trials of the service have proven successful so far with YouTubers receiving thousands of subscriptions in a matter of days. Many creators rely on Patreon or advertising to generate revenue, but this new service could prove to offer some much needed security. Recent changes to the way YouTube carries ads allows companies to pull their support from any videos that may feature profanity, sexual content, or even address "sensitive social issues."

The stability of the advertising model has always been problematic. Back in February, Disney severed ties with infamous YouTube star Felix Kjellberg after he posted a number of videos featuring anti-semitic comments. This was followed by a several major advertisers pulling out from the platform, not only hurting the profit margins of Google and YouTube, but also impacting smaller YouTubers, something which the sector has yet to recover from.

Kjellberg, more commonly known under the moniker "PewDiePie", raised major concerns once again earlier this month after using the "n-word" during a live stream. As Rob Fahey wrote last week for GamesIndustry.biz, his actions put the entire gaming corner of YouTube at risk.

"YouTube, of course, doesn't want to crack down on a flourishing part of its own ecosystem," he wrote. "But like a gardener who'll pull out a beloved plant before it can spread a disease to the rest of the garden, Google's executives will absolutely take the decision to raze the gaming sector rather than see its antics hammer down advertising revenues across the network."

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