Google Imagines Future Business Model for YouTube Shorts

Introduced in select markets a little more than a year ago and rolled out globally in July, YouTube Shorts generated more than 15 billion daily views worldwide by late September (up from 6.5 billion daily views worldwide in March), according to YouTube parent Google. The format caps videos at 60-seconds and is designed to rival TikTok, which claims 1 billion active monthly users, putting it among the most rapid-growth platforms ever. Even with YouTube Shorts’ healthy growth, the company has just begun testing advertising and monetization approaches for the short-form video experience.

To date, the company’s focus has been on building viewership and a creator roster. YouTube feels it imperative to keep Shorts distinct from its core long-form platform, “because creators are looking for different kinds of editing tools, metrics and ways to engage viewers,” according to Variety.

While Facebook and Instagram have their own rival to ByteDance’s TikTok , called Reels, YouTube Shorts product lead Todd Sherman thinks his company’s offering has an advantage in its association with classic YouTube as well as YouTube Music.

YouTube Shorts premiered globally in India, where a beta version was launched in September 2020 and produced some unexpected results, including variations resulting from adoption by multiple communities of interest. Variety reports niche interest there ranging “from magic tricks to gaming (‘Minecraft’ in particular) and from food to — believe it or not — dental care.”

Although the platform is still early in its development, YouTube Shorts director of global operations and partnerships Kevin Ferguson says he sees some interesting creators and communities taking root. “We are dealing with the next generation of mobile creators,” he said. “We are figuring out how we partner-manage these folks.”

To attract creators to YouTube Shorts, the company is offering incentives including a $100 million creators fund. Announced earlier this year, the YouTube Shorts Fund started paying out in August to content generators in the U.S. and India, according to Variety, which reports the payment program is now established in over 40 countries.

Creators with top-performing YouTube Shorts can earn anywhere from $100 to $10,000 per month, according to the Google video platform. “For creator monetization, the fund is the first-stop solution,” Ferguson said. “We are working on a long-term business model.”

YouTube Outlines Key Areas of Focus for Shorts After the First Year of the Format [Infographic], Social Media Today, 10/15/21

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