YouTube is testing a new membership gifting feature with a small group of creators, the company announced this week. The company has launched a beta version of Channel Memberships Gifting starting today, which essentially allows users to gift paid memberships to each other. Channel memberships, which are YouTube’s version of Twitch’s subscription offering, allow subscribers to pay a monthly fee to access extra benefits while also supporting creators.
With Memberships Gifting, a creator’s channel members can buy a set number of channel memberships in a single purchase that YouTube will then gift out to other viewers in a creator’s live stream. Viewers who receive a gift membership will get one month of access to a creator’s channel membership. Users need to opt-in to be able to receive gifted memberships on a channel by clicking “Allow Gifts” on a gift membership announcement that appears in the live chat when someone has purchased gift memberships.
YouTube will then distributes gift memberships to viewers based on how much they interact with a creator’s channel. For example, loyal viewers who often interact with the channel are more likely to receive gift memberships. If you’re selected for a gift membership, you’ll see a personal live chat message and also receive an email. Viewers who receive gift memberships don’t pay any charges and the creator receives their usual revenue share from each transaction. It’s worth noting that existing channel members are ineligible to receive a gifted membership.
“We’re not quite ready to make this widely available just yet, so we’re launching a Beta to get feedback and continue developing features,” YouTube said in a blog post. “For example, purchasing gift memberships on mobile isn’t available during the Beta, which we’ll have in place for full launch.”
YouTube notes that gift memberships use the same 70/30 (Creator/YouTube) revenue split where revenue share is calculated after App Store fees on iOS, if applicable, and other charges like sales tax. Creators who are interested in testing the new feature can request to get access to it via this request form. YouTube will notify you if you get access to the feature over the next few months.
The launch of the test comes as YouTube recently expanded its Super Thanks feature to all eligible creators in the YouTube Partner Program. The feature allows viewers who want to show extra appreciation for a video to pay creators with one of four pre-set amounts, ranging between $2 and $50. YouTube also has a Super Chat monetization feature, which is a way for creators to make money from their live streams. There’s also a Super Stickers feature that is aimed at fans who want to show their support and connect with their favorite creators.