- YouTube started testing an Explore tab on its iPhone app to give mobile viewers more recommendations on what to watch as the company faces a growing threat from Instagram’s IGTV video-sharing platform, per TechCrunch. YouTube announced the new feature on its Creator Insider vlog that is aimed at social influencers and video producers. Just 1% of YouTube iPhone app users are seeing the new tab.
- YouTube is reportedly offering five- and six-figure payouts to its most popular vloggers to give them an incentive to post their best content on YouTube first, according to Business Insider. YouTube said the payouts aren’t new and that it has rewarded select talent in this way.
- YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki on Friday said the company is committed to being more open about its experiments and tests that affect viewership. Among her five priorities for the second half of the year is helping creators build a business from their work, per a blog post.
YouTube pioneered the video-sharing market but the Google-owned service could face its strongest competition so far from Instagram’s recently launched IGTV platform. Already the leading influencer marketing platform, Instagram has quickly attracted brands like MTV, Nat Geo and Bacardi to its new long-form video platform. By adding an Explore tab, YouTube can better compete with the personalized recommendations of Instagram's own Explore feature. In addition, the reported payouts to creators could keep popular content generators and influencers from abandoning YouTube as their platform of choice.
Video creators have expressed frustration with YouTube's secretive methods of changing its platform without warning. Much of the frustration with YouTube results from the company’s efforts to address brand safety issues. On several occasions, marketers have suspended advertising on YouTube after reports that their ads were appearing alongside objectionable content from hate groups and others. As YouTube worked to appease brands with changes to its platform, some creators lost as much as 80% of their monthly revenue due to tougher monetization standards, according to Bloomberg News. The revenue lost caused speculation that YouTube talent would migrate to rival platforms like Amazon's Twitch, Facebook and now Instagram.
As part of its effort to address the concerns of creators, YouTube last month introduced software tools to help creators better monetize their content and engage with fans, per a blog post. The company expanded Channel Memberships to eligible channels with more than 100,000 subscribers. Channel Memberships, previously available to select creators as Sponsorships, allow viewers to pay $4.99 monthly to receive badges, emojis and exclusive content.
YouTube has 1.9 billion users and streams more than 180 million hours of video on TV screens a day, YouTube CEO Wojcicki said in her blog post. Google also has a near-monopoly in the mobile search market, but Facebook has four of the most popular mobile apps in world with Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp, per researcher App Annie. Facebook’s audience of 2.2 billion users and Instagram’s 1 billion give the social network strong marketing power to cross-promote IGTV and eat away at YouTube viewer time.