YouTube is turning on the money hose for Shorts — and taking on TikTok for real

From The Verge: In its ongoing battle with TikTok for vertical video supremacy, YouTube is about to play its most valuable card. It’s getting ready to turn on aggressive monetization for Shorts, its shortform vertical video format, and promising to help millions of creators make money on the platform.

Starting early next year, Shorts will be part of the YouTube Partner Program, meaning those who qualify can start getting a share of the ad money generated in Shorts. YouTube is also making it easier for creators who don’t qualify for the program to make money through tips, subscriptions, and merch sales. (The New York Times first reported the news.) The goal is to offer more and better monetization options than TikTok and potentially win over (and win back) many of the creators flocking to the rival platform.

The announcement comes about 18 months after the original launch of Shorts and a year after YouTube’s chief product officer Neal Mohan promised a “long-term monetization project.” Shorts appears to be growing fast: Amjad Hanif, YouTube’s vice president of creator products, says the feature is seeing 30 billion views a day and 1.5 billion people are viewing them every month. Shorts can often still feel like a TikTok clone, though, and it certainly hasn’t hit TikTok’s level of cultural cachet. But what TikTok drives in culture, YouTube drives in revenue.

Until now, YouTube has monetized Shorts in small ways, through creator funds, shopping, and tips. Those are similar to the ways TikTok and Instagram monetize their own vertical video, and many creators feel they’re not enough. Hank Green summed creator funds up pretty well to The Verge’s Nilay Patel on the Decoder podcast: “I hate them.”

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