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YouTube's new paid digital feature: Will Indian creators say Super Thanks?

Super Thanks is the fourth paid digital feature that YouTube has launched after Super Chats in 2017, Channel Membership in 2018 and Super Sticker in 2019; additional monetization model on the anvil

July 24, 2021 / 01:12 PM IST
Google's popular video content platform has been downloaded more than 10 billion times

Google's popular video content platform has been downloaded more than 10 billion times

YouTube is giving content creators more monetisation power by launching another paid feature called Super Thanks.

What Super thanks does is it allows viewers to tip their favourite creators with donations ranging between Rs 40- Rs 1,000.

Super Thanks is the fourth paid digital feature that YouTube has launched after Super Chats in 2017, Channel Membership in 2018, Super Sticker in 2019 and now Super Thanks in 2021.

YouTuber Raj Shamani, who has 44,600 subscribers on the platform and creates content around financial topics, thinks that the new feature might be of significant advantage to Indian creators, as it will help them to earn extra income as well as build a loyal audience base.

"Since in India, ad-based revenue is not a lot, YouTubers are in constant search of other sources of revenue. Creating content on YouTube and keeping people interested for a long period takes a lot of effort and time, because of which, many creators focus on other platforms like Instagram to get some extra income," he said.


YouTuber Rajesh Kumar, who has a channel on the platform called FactTechz with 16.8 million subscribers, where he creates scientific and educational videos, said that with Super Thanks, creators will not have to create live streaming content, which can be frequently done in the gaming category, but in various other types of content, is not used frequently.

Live streamers’ access

Adding to this, Pranav Panpalia, Founder, OpraahFx, an influencer-marketing platform said, "For a long time, live streamers had direct access to their audience by Super Chatting them. But the major chunks on YouTube are those who upload video on-demand (VOD) content. They were dependent on a few ways of monetization, which would be ad spends and brand integrations. But they didn't have access to the audience paying them directly. So, I see Super Thanks as Super Chat for VOD content."

He added that many YouTubers are creating content, but it may not be brand friendly.

"Many Youtubers have been vocal about this and want their audiences to support them. Super Thanks offers direct access and there is ease of paying also because it is integrated in the app. AdSense is not that big in India. I feel audiences chipping in money for content give more motivation to creators to create content and also to stick to the platform," Panpalia added.

AdSense is a way to make money by placing ads on your site on YouTube.

While Super Thanks is an additional monetization model for creators, will it work in India?

This is a good feature for the overall creator community but not for bigger markets like the US, said Sagar Pushp, Co-founder & CEO, ClanConnect, an influencer marketing platform.

"In India, we have seen that when you have to get the user to initiate any kind of subscription payment, it doesn't really work. Users are reluctant to pay. In India, the freemium model works better than premium model," he added.

Subscription model not hot

Madan Gowri, a YouTuber from south India, who has 5.12 million subscribers and produces content, including explainer videos and untold stories among others, concurs.

He said that a YouTuber's major source of income has been predominantly through integrations and ads placed by YouTube.


"The Indian audience isn't used to the concept of channel membership yet. It's slowly becoming mainstream only now. The Super Thanks feature, I do not think, would be a major boost to revenues for established creators. But this might be of great help to the budding ones," said Gowri.

While some creators are skeptical, a similar paid feature has worked for Indian creators in the past.

"Super Thanks seems like an extension of the already successful Super Chat feature that YouTube had introduced a while ago. The tipping model has worked well for creators in the past, especially for the ones who don't create brand-friendly content or do not wish to engage with brands," said Viraj Sheth- CEO and Co-Founder, Monk Entertainment.

When it comes to all other paid features, YouTube said that the platform has seen over 100 percent growth in creator revenue in India coming from features like Super Chat, Super Stickers, Channel Memberships and merchandise between February and May 2020.

Sharing an example, the platform said that Nitin Bhatia, a creator and a full-time trader, utilizes channel memberships to share exclusive educational videos on stocks, real estate and personal finance with his members. He has seen almost a 6X increase in YouTube revenue within 18 months.

OpraahFx's Panpalia noted that Super Chat is very successful in India. "I know gamers who have earned Rs three-four lakh for one live stream. On an average, for a casual live stream, creators earn around Rs 60,000-Rs 70,000. We did a campaign with many top influencers where we used Super Chats and we were at Rs 60 lakh from one live stream. The point is that the Indian audience is supporting creators."

YouTuber Mridul Tiwari, a creator of comedy content with 8.43 million subscribers, said that Super Chats have been a booster for Indian YouTubers as it highlights their genuine audiences, who support creators. "There are times when the video could be better, but they (audience) are your constant support and they motivate you at every step," he avers.

While the paid features of YouTube may not be as big a success as they are in the global markets, Panpalia estimates that the paid features still contribute 20-30 percent to the overall revenue pie of a content creator.

Industry estimates suggest that on a monthly average, Indian YouTubers earn USD 400-500 for five million subscribers.

Along with the existing paid features, YouTuber Shlok Srivastava, who runs a channel called Tech Burner with 5.96 million subscribers , expects more direct monetary options available on the platform.

"Like a viewer directly buying a piece of content from the creator, it can help creators experiment even more with their content and aid the growing creator economy," he added.
Maryam Farooqui
first published: Jul 23, 2021 09:57 am
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