Video streaming: Keeping it short

Google’s move to monetise YouTube Shorts is a win-win for content creators, advertisers and audiences

Video streaming: Keeping it short
Google’s latest move is testament to the growing consumption of and opportunity in short-form videos.

The Google-owned YouTube Shorts has seen encouraging results in its early monetisation efforts, Philipp Schindler, senior vice-president and chief business officer at Alphabet (Google’s parent company) had said during a call with analysts a couple of weeks ago. So what does it mean for the advertising ecosystem?

The video-streaming platform had launched its YouTube Shorts feature back in 2020, which would compete with popular short-form video platform, TikTok. According to the company, YouTube Shorts is currently being watched by over 1.5 billion signed-in consumers consistently with over 30 billion daily views, making the monetisation opportunity a big one. Its latest move to turn the platform into a revenue stream means that creators on YouTube Shorts will now be able to monetise their content, similar to long-form YouTube videos.

“Keeping in mind their history of sharing revenue with content creators, along with Google’s massive ad inventory, monetisation of YouTube Shorts will be a boon for content creators. With Reels already taking the centre stage, this move by YouTube was expected,” says Shahir Muneer, founder and director of Divo, a digital media company. The industry is now moving into an exciting phase with newer short video apps like Moj and Josh coming into their own, he adds.

Last year, the platform had also earmarked a YouTube Shorts fund of $100 million to reward creators for their dedication to making creative, original content. Unlike the traditional advertising-based monetisation opportunities seen on long-format YouTube videos, the fund allows creators to claim a bonus based on the channel’s performance in the Shorts segment in the previous month.

Sudhish Balan, co-founder and chief creative officer at Tonic Worldwide, expects that this will eventually evolve and follow a model similar to YouTube’s long-form videos. The video streaming giant posted a mere 5% ad revenue growth in the second quarter of CY22, down from 14% in Q1 of 2022. Balan points out that by monetising Shorts, YouTube’s ad revenues could be much higher. “This is a win-win for everyone —the audiences, content creators and advertisers. With monetisation, creators will now create unique, authentic content for YouTube Shorts,” he says. Currently, most creators create a piece of content for a certain platform like Reels, and then use the same piece of content on Shorts and other places, he points out. “Content creators are now likely to create unique content specifically for YouTube Shorts, because at the end of the day, they go where they get the audiences, and where clear monetisation opportunities exist,” he notes.

Google’s latest move is testament to the growing consumption of and opportunity in short-form videos. “Monetisation will incentivise content creators to produce more content, and that will drive up viewer consumption and also garner the attention of brands. After all, they will want to be wherever their target audience is,” explains Rakesh R, business head and director at Deepsense Digital.

Eventually, brands too will need to get into the creator mode and entertain consumers if they have to connect with their audiences, adds Tonic Worldwide’s Balan. He says, “This is where D2C advertisers have excelled. No consumer joins a video streaming platform to know more about brands. Therefore, advertisers will need to experiment and create engaging, entertaining short-form content, since that is clearly what their audiences seek.”

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