Twitter is trying something new to boost its stagnating user base: Luring content creators to post on Twitter by giving them an easy way to earn money from their videos.
Creators who publish videos on Twitter will get about 70 percent of the ad revenue, according to a source close to the situation. That's better than YouTube and Facebook's revenue share with creators, which is closer to a 50-50 split.
Normally accessible only to companies, Twitter's Amplify Publisher program is now available to individual content creators. Once they're approved by the company (after a quick application process) they can check a box to elect to have pre-roll ads run against their video.
This is part of a larger push Twitter is making to make its platform appealing to content creators. It's offering a new media library for creators with videos, GIFs and images, enabling tweet scheduling and planning, and providing more tools for managing multiple accounts. And in an expansion of the Twitter Engage app launched in June, now content creators can manage their videos — and the money they're making from them — on the desktop as well as on mobile.
Who exactly is the target audience? Twitter points to the 35,000-plus content creators who are part of Niche — the start-up it bought last year that connects influencers on Vine and other platforms with brands.
This is just the latest way Twitter is trying to compete with YouTube, as well as Facebook for star content creators who often bring millions of devoted fans.
In addition to sharing revenue, Facebook and YouTube have both been working to increase the appeal of their platform: YouTube has production studios stocked with the latest equipment. Facebook is paying well more than $50 million in total to 140 media companies and influencers to encourage them to experiment on the program. (Back in 2011, YouTube paid more than $100 million to content creators to produce for channels on the platform.)
Tuesday's news comes amid ongoing concerns about stagnating user growth and disappointing user guidance that slammed Twitter's stock after it reported earnings last month. And there are ongoing concerns about a steady stream of departing executives and complaints about harassment on the service.
It's notable that while Twitter's working to catch up with Facebook and YouTube's content efforts, those two giants have shifted their competition to be about live streaming. YouTube told the Financial Times on Monday that live video views on YouTube leapt 80 percent in the past year.
We don't have any official stats on Facebook live videos, but Facebook has said its average user watches live video for three times as long as other video types. Twitter owns live-streaming service Periscope, but it's focused on getting more, better content, and the fans that will follow it, on its core platform.