YouTube is launching paid "Super Thanks" in 68 countries starting Tuesday as a new way for fans to get money into the hands of creators they want to support. It's the latest in a lineup of features broadening the ways creators can make money on YouTube.
These Super Thanks -- which can be worth $2, $5, $10 or $50 in the US, with equivalents in local currencies -- are similar to previous paid digital goods that YouTube has rolled out in the last four years. But those earlier iterations of paid digital "applause," like Super Chats and Super Stickers, required that viewers be watching a livestream or a premiere. Super Thanks allows fans to pay creators while they're watching an on-demand video, widening the potential pool of customers for some creators.
In the past, monetization drama was persistent at YouTube. 's massive video site, which has more than 2 billion monthly users now, originally paid back money to its creators solely by sharing advertising revenue with them. After advertisers boycotted YouTube following a string of reports that ads were running next to offensive videos, YouTube tightened its policies, making it harder for some to make money. Disgruntled creators referred to it as "Adpocalypse."
But since then, YouTube has widened the avenues to for people to make money there, with these "Super" digital goods, monthly channel subscriptions and merchandising shelves.
The new Super Thanks feature was previously available to some creators in a beta test. When a viewer pays a creator with a Super Thanks, the viewer will see a short animated "thanks" overlay on their screen and the video will have a highlighted comment below the video noting their payment.
Starting Tuesday, the feature will available to creators and viewers in 68 countries on desktop and both Android and iOS devices. Eligible creators must already be part of YouTube's Partner Program, its vetting system for accounts to qualify for monetization. They must also be 18 years old. The rollout of Super Thanks from its initial beta will be randomized to thousands of new creators, with every eligible creator expected to have access by the end of the year.