- Memberships services company for creators Patreon said it expects to pay out more than $150 million to its publishers this year per Variety.
- The company manages subscription and membership services for more than 50,000 creators including podcasters, YouTube stars, musicians and other online creatives, double what the figure was last year. It also has more than one million patrons supporting the work of their favorite creators, a figure that has also doubled over the last year.
- Creators earn income by patrons either supporting them with voluntary payments or paying for access to sneak previews to content set to appear elsewhere such as YouTube as well as exclusive content.
While the typical path to revenue for online creators is ads on their content on platforms like YouTube, the growth of Patreon offers online creatives another way to monetize their efforts. In the wake of the YouTube boycott by brands and agencies that began in late March over offensive content, having options probably looks good for creators. Some consumers annoyed by intrusive and irrelevant ads may also see Patreon as a way to help them avoid some messaging, a trend that is also evident in the growth of ad blocking.
However, despite Patreon's growth, the volume of subscription revenue is a drop in the bucket compared to digital ad revenues, which are expected to $83 billion 2017.
The YouTube issue hit creators' monetization efforts in two different ways. The most obvious is brands simply stopped advertising on the platform, at least temporarily, taking ad dollars out of the system during that time period. But the more long-term impact will likely be changes in Google’s policies regarding who can monetize content as well as brands and agencies being much more careful about the type of content they will advertise on, in general being more reluctant to advertise on anything controversial or edgy. In fact, research from Captiv8 from earlier this month found that YouTube creators in most categories faced double-digit drops in revenue in April.
Twitch recently made it easier for creators to join an affiliate program that lets viewers tip them with “bits” worth $0.014, a revenue process not unlike Patreon’s users voluntarily supporting favorite creators. Twitch’s full Partner Program includes ad-driven revenue as well.