YouTube is beta testing a new gifting feature for its Premium subscribers that allows those users to spend $2 on Super Chats for their favorite creators.
Ryan Wyatt, YouTube’s head of gaming, confirmed the new feature was something they were testing for its subscriber base. The beta testing is running through the end of May, according to a report from Android Police. A description for the initiative, which was discovered by one of Android Police’s reporters, suggests Premium subscribers will receive $2 a month to give to creators. A YouTube Premium subscription currently costs $11.99 a month.
“Your free Super Chat will refresh on the 1st day of every calendar month, but it won’t accumulate,” the description reads.
Super Chat, which launched in 2017, is one of YouTube’s biggest initiatives to help creators find a secondary source of monetization away from traditional advertising revenue. Much like Twitch, people can pay a specific amount to have their message appear at the top of a live stream, or ask a creator to respond to them in chat. Super Chat is only available for creators with over 1,000 subscribers.
While Super Chat has helped some of those creators with monetization, it’s also come under scrutiny from the press. A BuzzFeed report from May 2018 suggested that Super Chat was pushing creators toward more “extreme content.” BuzzFeed cited creators talking about white nationalist content, many of whom charged viewers $5 to contribute to the conversation via Super Chat. A YouTube spokesperson told BuzzFeed at the time that while the content “does not meet our threshold for hate speech,” the comments in Super Chat did.
“Super Chat is a relatively new feature — it’s a small but growing source of revenue for some creators, and we are re-examining our policies in light of these edge cases,” the spokesperson told BuzzFeed.
Outside of those unfortunate instances, Super Chat has become a popular tool used among creators. The $2 gifting feature seems to be an incentive for non-Premium subscribers to sign up for the platform, akin to Twitch Prime subscribers being given the chance to gift a subscription to someone. The beta test is currently only running in the United States.