Friday, October 16, 2015

YouTube Gaming Testing "Sponsor" Fee for Channels

YouTube gamers be wary. Google announced on Thursday that the free service will now start charging channels a $3.99 sponsorship fee, as a means of generating revenue. If you think that's silly, it's one of the few ways YouTube may be able to bring in a profit. The website keeps booming, with a 20% increase in views yearly since 2010 and 1 billion unique visits monthly. Even though they have the Google Ad's program, it's not creating the type of profit that would be in line with 1 billion people visiting a website. While YouTube's revenue isn't known publicly, analysts state it's not where it could be.

The sponsorship will mimic Twitch's $4.99 monthly fee. Those channels that sign up will get additional benefits such as live chats between content producers and viewers, a digital badge noting you're a subscriber, and that's it. I know. Big whoop, right?

I mentioned Twitch because YouTube is testing this program with YouTube Gaming. PewDiePie, Rooster Teeth, Game Grumps - all of these channels will now be expected to use the monthly subscription and they will be required based on their subscriber numbers. If they have multiple channels, each one has to subscribe (such as the case with Rooster Teeth). Sponsors won't be able to avoid the advertisements that run during videos.

YouTube also released a "fan funding" program that basically allows users to donate the channels right there without having to be redirected to a website or PayPal. And like PayPal, they will take a cut out of every donation.

Right now response from the gaming channels has been quiet. I think a number of them are still trying to process the information and see if this is worth the investment. For the smaller ones with less then 10,000 subscribers, you're probably not going to be required to go with the subscription. For the big guys, yep. $3.99 doesn't seem like a lot in the long run. It's more of an inconvenience fee that something that was once free is now costing money. I'm not sure how I feel about it, but we'll see what happens.

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