YouTube will let fans clap in ostensible bid to compete with Twitch


A new feature on YouTube called “clapping,” also known as viewer applause, may be the platform’s key to competing with newcomers in the streaming video space, by allowing individual fans to contribute small amounts of money to video creators.

The Verge reports today on the new feature, which is now in beta.

With YouTube’s viewer applause, fans can click on an icon in order to support a video creator and spend up to $500 per day on viewer applause, as well as items called ‘super chats’ or ‘super stickers’ (with YouTube taking a cut of these monies, for instance, 30% for super chats.)

Verge writer Julia Alexander points out that YouTube is likely pursuing these kinds of additions in order to compete with a platform called Twitch.

“While Twitch doesn’t have a clapping function that works as a donation, YouTube is leaning heavily into what works for Twitch’s streamer base,” Alexander writes.  “Donations are a big part of how Twitch streamers earn income (alongside subscriptions and ad revenue). YouTube is working on building a series of tools that operate as alternative monetization — something that benefits both creators and YouTube.”

Acquired by Amazon in 2014, Twitch allows various kinds of user support for video creators, and is getting a lot of attention in tech media.

“It’s going to take more than a Ninja to take down Twitch,” writes Gabe Gurwin today at Digital Trends. “Despite the exodus of top-tier streamers to competing platforms like Mixer and YouTube over the last year, no service comes close to matching Twitch’s viewership.”

Will YouTube’s move spur greater monetization for people who are YouTube famous?

Probably. As for the “streaming video wars,” YouTube’s parent company, Alphabet of Google fame, reported revenues of $15 billion in 2019, a pretty healthy number by any measure. Keep an ear to the ground to see what happens with a fragmented streaming video market where changes are happening – quickly.