YouTube is usually in the news for something stupid, like its hilariously broken copyright take-down system or demonetizing videos without creators’ knowledge, but its recent Sponsorships program announcement warrants a closer look.
In an apparent attempt to muscle in on Twitch’s market setup, YouTube is expanding its Sponsorships program. The function allows viewers to pay a certain amount in exchange for special perks from the content creator they’re subscribed to.
YT is likewise encouraging gamers to stream their sessions through the site, in a not-so-subtle jab at Twitch’s dominance of the streaming market.
YouTube’s Sponserships program bears other similarities to Twitch’s setup. For a mere five bucks a month, Sponsorship subscribers can use exclusive emojis and other chat functions… much like on Twitch.
Content creators who are interested in launching Sponsorships must be at least 18 years old and have an audience of no less than 1,000 subscribers. It goes without saying at this point, but any content that YT deems controversial will be flagged and taken down with the same robotic efficiency that it would any other video.
YouTube’s latest effort to combat Twitch is admirable, but it’s too early to tell if it will actually gain the company any market share. Even YT’s impressive advertising reach can only do so much to entice content creators when the company is also secretly demonetizing videos and allowing huge corporations run of the video take-down stamp.
YouTube’s time would probably be better spend repairing the bridges it’s damaged with creators, especially now that competitors like Twitch have arrived to the scene, but let’s be fair; this is the company that thought YouTube Red was a good idea.
Even a YouTube with pristine PR would still have its work cut out taking Twitch on. Twitch has firmly integrated itself as the go-to place for streaming, as evidenced by its impressive dominance of that sphere of content.
Additionally, Twitch hasn’t suffered any YouTube-level PR gaffes in recent years; these days, the worst thing that anyone has to say about Twitch is that it can get laggy sometimes. Its reputation in the gaming community is much better than YT’s.
All of this is to say nothing of Twitch’s own plans for world domination. The company is keenly aware of what YT is trying to do and is looking at ways to expand past “just” streaming video games. Reportedly, the firm is looking into how to effectively stream other genres of entertainment, like performance art.
Twitch isn’t sitting on its laurels as YouTube tries to steal its market share out from under it, that’s for sure.
As for YT, the Sponsorships program is just getting started. It could bear YT some serious fruit if it’s managed properly, but that’s the problem with YouTube: the company isn’t always managed properly.
It’s an amazing platform that allows anyone to make video content about (most) everything, but events like the “Adpocalypse” betray a deep-rooted sense of entitlement. YouTube’s biggest hurdle on the road to becoming king of game streaming is not Twitch; it’s YouTube.