Twitter wants to attract digital video stars to help build its video business. But it can’t offer them more eyeballs than YouTube or Facebook — who already have those creators’ attentions and their videos — so it’s offering a better cut of the revenue than its larger, more established rivals.
On Tuesday Twitter extended the video ad program it opened last year for publishers to individual video creators that want to make money from their videos on Twitter like they do on YouTube.
Like YouTube and Facebook, Twitter will slot ads alongside creators’ videos, specifically in front of them, and offer them a share of the revenue. But while YouTube and Facebook offer creators 55% of the revenue — and in Facebook’s case, not necessarily even that much — Twitter will give creators 70% of the ad revenue and keep the remaining 30% for itself, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
While Twitter is dangling a more favorable revenue percentage, it may not end up being more money for creators. Twitter is being pressured by advertisers to lower its video ad rates. So depending on how much Twitter’s video ad prices fall and how they compare to YouTube’s and Facebook’s — not to mention how many people watch those videos on Twitter compared to on YouTube and Facebook — creators may not bank as much money per video on Twitter as they do on YouTube and Facebook.
But that may not be such a big deal. Twitter appears to be positioning itself as a supplementary revenue stream for creators, at least for now. Creators have the option of taking the same videos that they’re posting to and profiting from on YouTube, Facebook and anywhere else; post them to Twitter and get a share of the resulting ad revenue. Twitter becomes another way for creators’ to diversify their revenue streams.
One caveat that would make this less than a win-win proposition for creators is the question of whether that diversification would result in dilution.
Maybe the people watching a given creator’s videos on Twitter aren’t the same people watching them on YouTube or Facebook, so the Twitter distribution increases that creator’s overall viewership and therefore revenue. But maybe some share of a creator’s YouTube or Facebook audience decides to stop watching his or her videos on those platforms in favor of Twitter. Good for Twitter, but only good for the creator if the Twitter views he or she gains generate as much or more money than the YouTube or Facebook views he or she loses.