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YouTube begins paying out $100 million to creators using its short-form video feature

YouTube will pay out $100 million to influencers who use its new short-form video product, it said Tuesday.

YouTube Shorts, which was launched in March in the United States, lets creators post videos up to 60 seconds long with accompanying sounds and music. It is an attempt to compete with TikTok, which has exploded in growth and popularity over the past year and has siphoned off interest from YouTube.

Shorts functions similarly to TikTok and Instagram Reels, another TikTok competitor, letting users remix audio from video across YouTube.

The Shorts fund is separate from YouTube’s Partner Program, which allows top creators to earn a portion of the revenue generated from ads that run before or during their videos. The Partner Program had been the gold standard way for making money among creators, allowing them to earn millions of dollars by racking up views.

But creating high-quality YouTube videos is often time-consuming and expensive. Many young creators instead chose to invest their time in TikTok, which also pays creators through a fund based on views.

In the past year, Facebook and Snapchat have also introduced creator funds to woo TikTok creators. Last month, Facebook announced it would pay $1 billion to creators over the next year. Snapchat began distributing $1 million a day in November to users of its TikTok-like Spotlight feature.

YouTube will next week notify the first batch of creators who have earned money through its Shorts fund.

The program is invitation-only for now, with no application process. Each month, YouTube will reach out to several thousand creators whose Shorts are generating high engagement and inform them of their earnings retroactively.

Creators can be eligible for multiple months in a row. They need to set up an account with AdSense, Google’s advertising platform, to collect earnings, which could range from $100 to $10,000 a month. Creators between 13 and 18 must have a parent or guardian organize payment.

YouTube influencers also make money through ticketing, merchandise, producing branded content, paid memberships and more.

“We plan to expand the fund to even more countries in the coming months, as well as grow and evolve the fund as we continue to build more features for Shorts,” YouTube said in a blog post.

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