Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan said YouTube will offer expanded merchandising opportunities and allow users to begin charging monthly channel memberships. The news comes on the heels of similar announcements this week from Facebook and Instagram, all aimed at rewarding creators.
“The vast majority of the revenue is coming from our advertising partners,” Mohan said in a blog post following today’s keynote at VidCon. “We’ll continue investing there, but we also want to think beyond ads.”
YouTube has been experimenting during the past year with new forms of monetization including Super Chat, a product that allows fans to purchase messages that stand out within a live chat. YouTube also has expanded into ticketing and merchandise.
Now, Mohan said, YouTubers can begin offering channel memberships, charging a monthly recurring fee of $4.99 in exchange for custom perks such as live streams, extra videos or shout-outs. A select group of YouTubers has been able to do this already, as part of a test program known as Sponsorships. Now it’s available to channels with more than 100,000 subscribers.
“We’ve seen a lot of creators find success with this new business model,” Mohan said in the post.
Merchandise sales, which long have supplemented creators’ income, also will get a boost. YouTube partnered with Teespring, which will give offer creators 20 merchandise items, from logo shirts to phone cases, to customize and sell via a shelf on their channel.
Joshua Slice, creator of Lucas the Spider, turned his hero character into a plushie, selling more than 60,000 furry friends and generating $1 million-plus in profit in just 18 days, according to Teespring. This new merchandise feature is available today to U.S.-based channels with more than 10,000 subscribers.
Mohan talked about another new feature called Premieres, which allows creators to debut pre-recorded videos as a live moment. It automatically will create a public landing page to build anticipation and hype up new content. When all fans show up to watch the premiere, they’ll be able to chat with each other (and with the creator) in real time.
Premieres also unlocks new revenue streams. For the first time, creators can use Super Chat on traditional YouTube uploads and take advantage of Channel Memberships perks that were previously only available on Live videos.
Premieres are starting to roll out to creators today and will be available broadly soon.