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A quarter of YouTube’s paid creators are earning money with Shorts


One year after YouTube turned on revenue sharing for its shortform video feature, a growing chunk of creators are getting paid for it. More than 1 in 4 creators in YouTube’s Partner Program are now earning money with YouTube Shorts, the company announced on Thursday. Given there are over 3 million creators in YouTube’s ad sharing program, that amounts to roughly 750,000 Shorts creators in total.

The company doesn’t break out how much it has paid Shorts creators specifically. It has paid $70 billion to creators in total over the last three years, with the bulk of that going to longform content.

By all measures, Shorts are getting more popular. The number of Shorts uploaded on YouTube has grown by 50 percent year over year, and the feature now averages over 70 billion daily views from over 2 billion creators per month, YouTube’s spokesperson for Shorts, Kimberly Taylor, tells The Verge. The feature first launched in 2020 and has become more integrated with the platform in the years since.

Even with that growth, Shorts still lacks the influence and passionate user base of TikTok, the platform it’s imitating. The rival platform is popular enough that its users flooded congressional phone lines earlier this month when prompted to by the app. At the moment, TikTok’s future in the United States remains uncertain, as a bill to ban the platform or force a sale lingers in the Senate.

While there hasn’t been a mass exodus from TikTok, monetizing Shorts does seem to have incentivized more native YouTubers to experiment with the feature. Many of YouTube’s most subscribed-to longform creators, including MrBeast, Like Nastya, Markiplier, and others are now posting to Shorts.

Todd Sherman, the product lead of YouTube Shorts, believes Shorts’ connection to the wider YouTube ecosystem gives it an edge on competitors. Unlike with TikTok, users on YouTube can hop from watching a creator’s Shorts to watching their full-length videos or subscribing to their channel — typically more lucrative opportunities for creators.

“When I think about how Shorts is a part of YouTube, of course it’s its own thing. It’s in a feed, but as you swipe through that feed, there’s often an ability to go deeper and connect more deeply with a creator or go find that full song or watch the music video,” said Sherman. 

“Shorts are basically an ad that gives me a few bucks instead of me paying anything at all.”

YouTube’s eligibility requirements for monetization are lower than that of TikTok, which in theory gives more creators opportunities to earn money. But some creators still struggle to earn revenue from Shorts alone, perhaps due to what some report is a far lower payout than longform YouTube content. Instead, many see Shorts as a way to bring new subscribers to their main channel. “Shorts are basically an ad that gives me a few bucks instead of me paying anything at all,” wrote one Reddit user on r/PartneredYouTube.

YouTube retains 55 percent of revenue from ads for Shorts, while creators receive the other 45 percent. That’s the reverse of what YouTube offers its longform creators, which the company says is necessary due to music licensing fees for Shorts. The revenue split for Shorts isn’t likely to change soon. “I think as of right now, we’re very happy with the program,” Thomas Kim, YouTube’s Partner Program product director, told The Verge

Tellingly, most YouTube Shorts creators earn money through other parts of YouTube. Nearly 80 percent of creators who became eligible for YouTube’s Partner Program through Shorts are earning revenue through other parts of the platform, including longform videos and fan funding, says Taylor. While this is a win for YouTube, it also suggests that the revenue opportunity for shortform video — and only shortform video — may still be limited.



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