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YouTube tests tools to help keep creators paid

The video site widens programs that let fans "sponsor" favorite creators and let creators specify in advance that their uploads shouldn't be demonetized.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki holds out her arms at an on-stage presentation
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki updated creators on the company's efforts Tuesday. 
FilmMagic for YouTube

YouTube is testing a program that allows uploaders to describe the contents of their video posts, aiming to reduce the instances that a creator's work improperly loses the right to earn money from ads, CEO Susan Wojcicki said in a blog post Tuesday

The Google-owned video site is also testing out ways for creators to monetize on YouTube besides ads, such as fan sponsorships. 

For more than a year, YouTube has grappled with striking a balance between advertisers' demands that their brands run against safe videos and creators' expectation of freedom. With 400 hours of content uploaded every minute, YouTube has struggled to please both its advertisers and its creators as it cracks down on objectionable content that is making money from advertising while also preserving the free flow of creativity on its gigantic platform. 

Calling the first of the tools "self-certification," YouTube said 15 creators tested a new upload process that asks them to provide information about what's in their video (or not), such as profanity, violence, firearms, drugs or discussion of sensitive current events. The goal is to cut down the frequency of demonetization false-positives -- when a video is abiding by YouTube's advertiser-friendly guidelines but is improperly demonetized anyway. The company is widening the pilot to more creators, it said. 

"In an ideal world, we'll eventually get to a state where creators across the platform are able to accurately represent what's in their videos so that their insights, combined with those of our algorithmic classifiers and human reviewers, will make the monetization process much smoother with fewer false positive demonetizations," Wojcicki said. 

The company began testing sponsorships with a limited set of creators, too. Fans of a creator can set up recurring payments to fund the uploader. The company said "many" sponsored creators saw substantial increases in their overall YouTube revenue, so the company plans to expand it to many more creators in the coming months.

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