Mohan describes the fund, which mimics similar initiatives by Tiktok and Snapchat, as a trial — “a means by which my team’s goal is to develop what we hope will be the long-term, scalable monetization program for Shorts.” The team is currently investigating how best to measure engagement on the new platform. Mohan notes that metrics may end up varying across regions.
According to Youtube’s guidelines, “All of your Shorts videos will count towards your Shorts performance each month that they receive views — not just the month they were uploaded.”
While resembling Tiktok, Shorts has a couple of unique features, which Mohan highlights. Its key distinction is that it’s connected to the vast Youtube library: creators can incorporate an audio sample from almost any video on the platform into their Short. In the other direction, a Short can easily send the viewer to the original video from which the audio was sampled.
Decoder’s interviewer points out that Tiktok comes with a powerful suite of in-app creation tools, which Shorts is currently lacking. Mohan notes that Shorts creators have requested features like better filters and editing tools, which are on the cards: “I’d like to see [those things] sooner rather than later, but I also know our teams are working on it.”
When pressed, Mohan does not say whether Youtube penalize creators who upload recycled Tiktok videos by decreasing their engagement, as Instagram is doing. He indicates that decisions like these are driven by things like viewer engagement and feedback. Youtube’s guidelines state that Shorts must be original, and contain no watermarks or logos from other social platforms, to qualify for the fund.
When asked whether Youtube creators would see their engagement fall unless they started using Shorts, Mohan is clearer: “We don’t talk about that in the explicit way that you’re describing at all.” He insists that Youtube is there to support a “diversity of creators.”
The executive adds that “we could continue to do a lot more” when it comes to explaining the company’s monetization policies to creators in general.