The anarchic behavior of YouTubers attracts huge online audiences and has turned stars such as MrBeast and Logan Paul into the highest paid performers of the internet age. Now Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, wants a slice of the lucrative stock and will try to lure video creators to the social media platform.
In a series of posts on Twitter over the weekend, Musk spoke to videographers, saying he plans “creator monetization for all forms of content,” and that his company could “beat” the cut. of 55% of advertising revenue that YouTube gives its top artists.
When asked when he would give more details, he replied: “Two weeks”.
Although competing sites such as TikTok are rising in the rankings, YouTube generates more money for its creators than any other platform thanks to the scale of its advertising sales, the size of its audience and the structure of its distribution model. revenue sharing.
The highest-paid YouTubers earned $300m (£264m) in 2021, according to Forbes, with advertising revenue supplemented by merchandise and catalog sales.
First in the league is MrBeast, aka Jimmy Donaldson, 24, from North Carolina, who started posting videos when he was 13 years old. He earned an estimated $54 million last year, edging out actress Angelina Jolie and media personality Kim Kardashian, and making him the highest paid YouTuber of all time.
A master of the online stunt, MrBeast is best known for spending 50 hours buried alive in a coffin and hosting his own version of the Netflix Squid Game TV series. Brothers Logan and Jake Paul are among the top 10 earners, after filming themselves playing video games and pulling pranks to learn how to box and take on big names – or rival internet stars – in highly publicized fights.
This weekend, Twitter began offering a paid service, Twitter Blue, which will cost $7.99 per month. The platform does not currently allow long-form video, limiting users to two minutes and 20 seconds. But Musk tweeted on Saturday that Twitter Blue subscribers could post “chunks” of video up to 42 minutes in length.
Those willing to pay to post will also be awarded the blue check mark indicating that Twitter has verified their identity, a feature typically reserved for public figures such as government officials, journalists and celebrities.
Amid the chaos and distress caused by the summary layoff of half of Twitter’s 7,500 employees, engineering teams rolled out the new feature at breakneck speed. It was reported Sunday night that dozens of those made redundant had been asked to return because they had either been fired in error or the company had since realized their work was vital to creating the new features Musk was looking for.
He acquired Twitter late last month for $44 billion, in a deal backed by billions of his own money. The entrepreneur has now set up a war room at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco, where he and a small team of advisers scramble to cut costs and come up with new products.
The first of these was Twitter Blue, which rolled out in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
Everyday Astronaut, a YouTube creator with 1.3 million subscribers, responded to Musk’s ‘monetizing’ tweets with a message that he would consider uploading his productions to the site if he could handle full videos and pay creators with a YouTube style system.
In messages with other Twitter users, Musk asked how YouTube monetization works – sharing ad revenue with popular creators. When told that YouTube gives those who upload their content 55% of ad revenue, he replied, “We can do better.”
Musk’s comments follow reports that Twitter is considering letting users charge for video content, with the platform taking a cut, despite the project being flagged internally as high risk.
Twitter reportedly considered an Only Fans-style subscription under its previous leadership, but scrapped the plan over fears it could vet such a service for child sex abuse material.
Twitter’s current setup for paid creators consists of a “tips” service, where users can voluntarily donate money, and a “super follow” feature, which allows users to charge users up to 9, $99 per month for exclusive tweets.
TikTok is making undisclosed funds available to select creators in the UK, while user-generated site OnlyFans, which is dominated by pornography, gives creators 80% of their subscription fees.
Twitter derives about 90% of its $5 billion in annual revenue from advertising. However, that revenue stream has been damaged by furor over Musk’s takeover, as major advertisers such as Audi, Carlsberg and United Airlines suspended spending over fears content moderation standards could slip. Musk tweeted on Friday that there had been a “massive drop” in ad revenue on the platform.