YouTube has this week started to officially roll out its new ‘fan funding’ feature, giving creators the opportunity to receive donations from generous users who enjoy their content.
While YouTube creators with popular videos can already make a few bucks via ads, the introduction of the new virtual tip jar provides an additional and potentially lucrative revenue stream.
The feature, which this week rolled out for users in the US, Australia, Japan, and Mexico, lets fans quickly and simply send a creator anywhere between $1 and $500 a time.
It currently works on desktop and Android versions of YouTube, while support for other platforms is “coming soon,” the Google-owned company said.
Once a creator enables fan funding in their settings, a small “i” icon will appear in the top left of their videos.
When a viewer clicks on it, the video pauses to show a sign with a message from the creator, together with a “support” button. Click on this and you’ll then need to sign into your Google account to choose the amount you want to give and complete the payment process using Google Wallet.
As you’d expect, YouTube will take a cut of any transactions. In the US, for example, $0.21 plus 5 percent of each donation will go straight to the company.
YouTube is keen to hold on to its existing creators as well as attract new ones, with popular videos clocking up millions of views that generate important ad revenue for both the creator and the video-sharing company
Offering another way to make money on top of ads will certainly be welcomed by video producers, but motivating viewers to click the donate button could prove challenging. However, periodic funding drives that promise to reinvest donations into the channel to bring improved content may be enough to persuade loyal followers to dig into their pockets.
YouTube said that it plans to roll out the new fan funding feature to more countries around the world “as soon as possible.”