It’s that time of year again for YouTubers:
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has published this year’s annual letter to the video platform’s community and the big focus is clear: 2022 is going to be all about YouTube Shorts.
According to Wojcicki,YouTube Shorts content has hit “5 trillion all time views” on the platform. It appears clear in the letter that YouTube is very happy with how it’s built-in shortform video platform – a way for the company to keep up with its competitor TikTok – is performing.
“More people are creating content on YouTube than ever before,” says Wojcicki. “We’re seeing momentum across the platform, including on Shorts.”
The letter continues to tout the success of its Shorts Fund, a monetization program set up to specifically foster the growth of shortform video on YouTube. Significantly, over 40 percent of creators who received money in this way weren’t even a part of the YouTube Partner Program, the traditional way to make money on YouTube.
To qualify for the Partner Program, creators need to reach certain viewership and subscriber criteria in order to monetize their channels through advertisement, paid memberships, and other methods. The fact that a significant portion finding success on YouTube Shorts don’t just overlap with already-established creators making money on YouTube is certainly a sign that the platform is successfully branching out.
Looking ahead, the company says it will focus on making Shorts more discoverable, and offer users more ways to edit and remix content for shortform video.
And if Shorts is taking on TikTok, YouTube is coming after another competitor next: Twitch.
Livestreams are a ubiquitous feature of the online gaming community and, in her letter, CEO Wojcicki says that the company is working on better “discoverability” when it comes to live content on YouTube. She mentions more “chat features” on the way as well, which seems like a clear reference to Twitch’s currently more robust live chat feature on streams. Wojcicki also specifically mentions “Gifted Memberships” as a feature rolling out later this year, meaning users will be able to buy memberships to a creators channel for others… a feature already long available on Twitch.
YouTube also intends to bring on additional employees in order to get more “specific about policy violations.” A common complaint from YouTube creators is that when users are notified of a strike on a video, the company doesn’t specify exactly what the violation was. Providing users with a timestamp of the policy violation, something they already started testing last year, is one possibility, according to the letter.
One final thing to mention from the letter, which might result in a collective sigh from a large swath of creators, was that it mentioned Web3… and specifically, NFTs.
Wojcicki says that, when it comes to monetization for creators, YouTube is “following everything happening in Web3 as a source of inspiration.”
“We’re always focused on expanding the YouTube ecosystem to help creators capitalize on emerging technologies, including things like NFTs,” she writes.
Crypto, NFTs, and other emerging “Web3” technologies have frequently been lambasted by consumers of whatever industry tries to retrofit them into an existing service. Most recently, gamersrevolted against a number of moves made by developers to launch NFTs. So, it’ll certainly be interesting to see what exactly YouTube is looking to do in this space and how it’s received by a base that is far from shy about broadcasting its opinions.