This isn't the first time they have tried this approach, as Shorts was already being funded via the creator funds, as well as fan-sponsored shopping and tips. YouTube itself contributed around $100 million to these creator funds to help generate revenue for popular creators. But this is the first time they are actually talking about adding it to their official YouTube Partner Program. This showcases the legitimacy of the whole format, as well as YouTube's commitment to making this a viable category for creators.
To make this goal a reality, they are also working hard on overhauling the browsing experience for potential users. Recently, they added a feature that lets creators reply to fan comments in the Shorts section in hopes of increasing fan engagement. Creators can even select special comments and feature them on their channels. They will even notify the commenter if and when their comment is highlighted, so they can come back to interact some more.
All of this and more, in hopes of retaining the roughly 1.5 billion users who now watch YouTube Shorts on a regular basis. This is still just the tip of the iceberg, as market leaders like TikTok are still quite a ways ahead when it comes to both creators and viewer count. To close this gap, the company is trying all sorts of radical ideas, including the introduction of a whole new tool that lets you edit longer videos into shorts right within the app interface, called 'Edit into a Short'.
They are also making it easier for shorts creators to get monetization, even if they don't qualify for the existing partner program. By adding these new monetization options, in addition to other existing services like tips, subscriptions and merch counters, the company is hoping to bring back a large number of creators that have left the platform in hopes of building a new audience base. Only time will tell if these efforts will bear fruit or if this will be just another stopgap in the eventual decline of the shorts platform.