The sponsorships program on YouTube Gaming is now available to all streamers who use the platform and meet the minimum requirements. Sponsors are very similar to subscribers on Twitch, and they have only been available to a handful of YouTube Gaming creators until now.
YouTube made the announcement on their Creator Blog today, sharing details of the perks sponsors receive and how creators can enable sponsorships for their channels. Like Twitch, viewers can pay a YouTube Gaming streamer $5 on a monthly basis to be a sponsor. In exchange, the sponsor will have a custom badge by their name in the live chat and be able to use the creator’s custom emojis.
Custom emojis are a big addition today, speaking as a YouTube Gaming streamer. (And Twitch. Both “mischacrossing.” In case you were wondering…) Even streamers in the sponsorship beta program could not use custom emojis, as YouTube had to overhaul their entire emoji system to make them work. Custom emojis on YouTube work a lot like custom emotes on Twitch. You unlock more with more sponsors, only sponsors can use them, and they have to be your own work or commissioned by you.
Third-party apps will be able to enhance sponsorship perks even further. Streamlabs, which many Twitch and YouTube streamers already use, can play a customizable alert in a stream whenever someone becomes a sponsor, so everyone can celebrate the support together. Streamers can also connect their channel to a Discord server to allow for a sponsor-only role, or a whole server just for them.
With the addition of sponsorships, YouTube is taking away Paid channels. This service let viewers pay a creator starting at $1 a month, but the Creator Blog post stated less than 1% of creators use it today. Paid channels never picked up much traction, so it’s nice to see YouTube replacing it with a more exciting, profitable system.
Twitch is by far the most popular video game streaming site out there with over 100 million users a month and tens of thousands of viewers watching at any given time. YouTube Gaming is looking to change that by introducing sponsorships, and they definitely have a good thing going. Lots of let’s players added or switched to streaming on their channels and are already seeing great traffic and making consistent revenue through Super Chats (in-stream donations) and sponsors. RocketBeansTV racked up 1,500 sponsors on their first day with the option, and yes, they’re a channel with over 380,000 subscribers already, but it’s an example of how popular sponsorships already are.
YouTube has faced some controversy in recent months when creators started seeing decreased ad revenue due to policy changes. But as Twitch already knows, ad revenue is pocket change compared to what enthused communities of viewers can do to support their favorite content creators. Many people stream on Twitch full time and make very comfortable livings off it because they built a community who enjoys supporting them financially while they do something they love. YouTube is helping its creators get there; they’ve just had to tweak — and imitate — the formula a few times.
Non-gaming creators on YouTube might have access to revenue from viewers as well. The site will be testing a similar program to sponsorships with YouTubers and see if the formula works for them too. You can sign up your channel for the beta program here.