Since its inception in 2013, Patreon has enabled autonomous content creators to get paid directly by fans via subscriptions for videos, podcasts, and other work, augmenting their ad revenue. However, now that YouTube has been completely developed as a mainstream component of many consumers’ media diets—a process has been accelerated by the pandemic—asking creators to scrounge cash from third-party platforms becomes inefficient.
“Support me on my Patreon page,” you may have heard from YouTube video artists ranging from HBO star Issa Rae and rapper Joe Budden to unknown video podcasters. “Support me on my Patreon page,” you may have heard from YouTube video artists ranging from HBO star Issa Rae and rapper Joe Budden to unknown video podcasters. This is because Patreon CEO Jack Conte has seen this and is aiming to join the ranks of firms like Twitch, Vimeo, and others that provide video makers with a platform to host their shows.
Conte’s solution differs in that it allows established Patreon producers with paying fan bases to streamline their business by keeping supporter revenue and distribution in one place.
Conte stated this about the project: “We already host podcasts, and we’re now adding video to the mix. We’re working on a video product right now… So, in terms of how we’ve addressed our strategy and what we’re doing, we’re creating the horizontal infrastructure that will allow any creative, regardless of medium or upload type, to build a company around their work.”
The Premise of Patreon’s New Feature:
Creators will probably be able to host and share videos without having to leave the platform with the new capability. Conte told The Verge, “We already host podcasts, and now we’re starting to host videos as well.” “We’re constructing a video product… we’re building the horizontal framework for any creative to be able to establish a business around their work, regardless of their medium or upload method.”
How Does it Affect YouTube?
The move by Patreon is part of a rising trend of upstarts aiming to dethrone YouTube as the de facto video platform for producers. Last month, Spotify, the world’s largest audio streaming service, debuted its own video podcast option for artists.
A move anticipated by the company’s acquisition of YouTube’s Joe Rogan for an estimated $100 million in 2020. Both Spotify and Patreon’s new offerings, like YouTube, Twitch, and Vimeo, provide a variety of opportunities for creators to earn money, including subscriptions, tips, and commercials.
YouTube’s Edge Over Others:
“Over 2 million creators are now making money and building their businesses on YouTube via the YouTube partner program, which offers ten different ways to monetize their content, from Super Chat to BrandConnect,” said Philipp Schindler, Chief Business Officer of YouTube’s parent company, Alphabet, during the company’s conference call with analysts and investors last month.
Although YouTube’s competitive advantage is being tested in new ways, it will be difficult to break its stranglehold on the video maker community. Beyond advertising money, YouTube’s new Super Thanks function, which allows a viewer to send a one-time thank you payment to a creator for an uploaded video, is yet another tool that will make utilizing any other video platform difficult.
While direct payments on Patreon may represent a more transparent approach to making a livelihood as a video artist than the frequently opaque dynamic of impressions-based advertising revenue, Patreon has failed to recreate YouTube’s social media virality. Patreon’s entry into the video hosting space is a significant step toward achieving the kind of organic discoverability that YouTubers have grown to expect.