YouTube Launches $100 Million Fund for TikTok Copycat ‘Shorts’

Creators can make up to $10,000 each month for posting original vertical videos

YouTube on Tuesday launched its $100 million “Shorts Fund,” which’ll go towards paying creators to use its new “Shorts” quick-hit video feature that resembles TikTok.

The Google-owned video giant, in a blog post announcing the fund, said it will start paying creators this month. Creators will be eligible to make $100 each month on the low end and up to $10,000 per month on the high end. YouTube plans on distributing all of the money by the end of 2022.

Shorts launched in the U.S. in May, with the feature allowing users to create short-form vertical videos that last up to 60 seconds, similar to TikTok. YouTube that same month announced its $100 million fund, but there was little information on how the program would work.

On Tuesday, YouTube gave some more details, with the company saying it’ll “reach out to thousands of creators” each month, “asking them to claim a bonus payment from the Shorts Fund.” Those payments will be based on how a user’s Shorts performed the previous month.

A few key details to know about the program: YouTube is looking to highlight original user-generated content, with the company saying Shorts of “non-original videos,” like unedited TV or movie clips, won’t be eligible to grab a payment; clips that have watermarks or logos from other social media platforms won’t be eligible, either. Creators in the U.S. will need to be at least 13 years old to qualify, and those between the ages of 13-18 will need their parents’ approval.

YouTube added: “channels do not need to be currently monetizing on YouTube to be eligible. Creators in the YouTube Partner Program and channels that are affiliates under a Multi-Channel Network (MCN) are also eligible.”

In terms of how YouTube will calculate its payments, that’s a bit cloudy. The company on Tuesday said “the level of performance needed to qualify for a bonus payment may differ between creators (based on audience location for example) and may change from month to month due to fluctuations in audience location and the number of creators making Shorts.

Beyond the U.S., YouTube said the program is open to users from Brazil, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa and the U.K.

YouTube’s new fund comes after other major tech companies have looked to pay creators over the last year. Snapchat, for example, was until recently paying out $1 million per day to users who had their pictures or videos featured in its new “Spotlight” tab. And YouTube — after recently reporting $7 billion in Q2 revenue — certainly has the dough to fund the fund.


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