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YouTube (S GOOG) is getting ready to join the crowdfunding boom: The Google-owned video service is looking to add crowdfunding tools to the arsenal of monetization methods it is offering its video creators. YouTube made the announcement on Friday with a blog post and video that also previewed a few other creator-focused initiatives, including crowdsourced captioning and a mobile analytics app.
The video has YouTube Product Manager Rehan Ratnatungha saying:
“The problem is, a lot of this funding happens off YouTube. So I’ve been thinking about we can do this directly on YouTube, allowing fans to fund the creators that they really love.”
YouTube has been facing criticism from creators in recent months, with some arguing that ad revenue on the site falls below expectations. A few of the biggest YouTube networks have tried to take their business elsewhere, with mixed success. Individual video producers have also increasingly looked to sites like Kickstarter or Patreon, which was launched by YouTube music star Jack Conte, to augment their income.
YouTube has been cooperating with crowdfunding sites for some time; Kickstarter and Indiegogo were some of the first external websites that video producers could link to via video annotations. The video service didn’t offer any additional details on what its own crowdfunding features will look like, but given that history, it’s possible that YouTube will try to complement Kickstarter rather than directly compete with it.
Either way, we could soon learn more: Vidcon, the annual gathering of YouTube creators and their biggest fans, is scheduled for the end of June, and it would make a lot of sense for YouTube to share additional details at that time.