YouTube: Shorts Can Earn Ad Revenue Starting Feb. 1, Partner Program Gets New Terms

YouTube, which announced in September that it would soon enable creators to earn ad revenue on Shorts, has now announced that that will happen starting February 1.

The platform also announced changes in its Partner Program terms. The overall program has been restructured into “modules” designed to give creators more flexibility in the ways they can monetize their content.

All existing and new creators who want to monetize content must now agree to “Base Terms” that spell out how YouTube pays them, content policies and new terms covering areas such as country pass-throughs and rights clearance adjustments.

After that, they can opt to select one or more modules or methods for monetization, each of which has its own terms and contract.

The modules include the Shorts Feed ads, Watch Page ads, channel memberships, Shopping, Super Chat/Super Stickers, Super Thanks and Premium revenue.

Up to now, creators of Shorts -- launched globally in July 2021 -- have been able to earn money through shopping integrations, Super Chats and a YouTube Shorts Fund, but YouTube did not share ad revenue with them, as it does with its traditional videos. The new Shorts revenue-sharing model will replace the fund.

Shorts creators who agree to the basic and module-specific terms will get a cut of revenue from ads viewed between videos in the Shorts Feed. Shorts views are eligible for ad revenue sharing exclusively from that feed, which is separate from long-form video monetization on the Watch Page.

Shorts creators can accept the module’s terms and begin accruing views eligible for ad revenue sharing as of Feb. 1. Views accrued prior to that date are not eligible. For those who accept the terms after Feb. 1, eligible views begin accruing on the date they sign.

YouTube’s model for Shorts ad revenue sharing includes four steps, starting with the adding together of revenue from ads running between videos in the feed.

Revenue is allocated into a Creator Pool based on views and music use across Shorts uploaded by monetizable-eligible creators. When Shorts include music, the revenue associated with those Shorts is split between the pool and music partners, to cover music licensing costs. (Creators keep 45% of their allocated revenue, regardless of whether or not music was used.)

Revenue from the overall pool is distributed to creators based on their share of total views from monetizing creators’ Shorts in each country.

The terms spell out several scenarios that cause views to be excluded as eligible to add revenue to the pool, including ads shown on opening the Shorts Feed before a Short is viewed (like the YouTube Shorts Masthead), ad views from Shorts uploaded by music partners, and ad views shown on navigational pages within the Shorts player.

YouTube has also revised the requirements to join the Partner Program, with Shorts engagement requirements specifically revised.

The basic requirement of having at least 1,000 subscribers to a creator’s YouTube account remains, as does the requirement that an account must have accumulated at least 4,000 public watch hours on content within the past 12 months. But Shorts, which had counted toward the 4,000 hours since last October, no longer count toward it, starting this month.

There are now two options: The 4,000 hours must be garnered through non-Shorts content, or have accumulated at least 10 million Shorts views within the past 90 days.

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