YouTube has adjusted its approach for how content creators can get paid by their fans. Last week, the video platform announced that it is ending its paid channels initiative, a program that allowed channel owners to directly sell access to their videos to individual subscribers. In its place, YouTube is broadening its sponsorship model. The sponsorships will be available to all creators on the YouTube Gaming community and are being tested with a group of creators on the main YouTube platform.
YouTube’s efforts to monetize have walked a rocky road. Paid channels debuted in 2013, but according to Variety, had low uptake among both viewers and hosts. Sponsorship is more flexible approach that YouTube first tried out in 2015. With this method, viewers can pay $4.99 a month to get special perks such as a separate chat, chat badges, custom emoji, and other third-party integrations.
The recent moves within YouTube reflect a similar patronage approach to that at Patreon. This crowdfunding site lets creative professionals and hobbyists solicit monthly contributions from fans in exchange for benefits such as exclusive content or early access. Patreon recently secured a $60 million funding round.