YouTube fights to keep creators happy as Facebook circles
YouTube has a new secret weapon in the online video wars: cuddly toys. The Google-owned video streaming pioneer is looking for new ways to help its army of content creators make money. Advertising, the main money spinner for the people producing video content, has become more uncertain, as brands fret about appearing alongside unsavoury clips. As additional incentives, YouTube is looking to help its creators sell merchandise to their fans, from soft toys to T-shirts, and adding new kinds of paid subscription options, as well.
“We want these new products to be meaningful revenue streams, not just a small percentage of what they were making with ads,” said Neal Mohan, YouTube’s head of product. “The goal is not just maximising revenue but strengthening the community between the creators and their fans.”
Those community bonds are, in turn, vital for keeping creators loyal to YouTube at a time when video producers and online personalities have more alternatives than ever to reach their audience. That was obvious at VidCon, the annual gathering of creators in Southern California last week, where rivals including Facebook, Snap, Amazon and Twitter were all just as visible as YouTube.
“What amazes me about VidCon is just a few years ago it was a YouTube convention,” said Rich Greenfield, a media analyst at BTIG. “A couple of years ago you saw Facebook lurking around behind the scenes. Last year you saw Snapchat lurking behind the scenes. Now it feels like everybody is here.”