While we await news of Google IO 2022, YouTube has announced a beta program that can allow streamers on its service to gift memberships to its viewers.
As the support page from Google states (opens in new tab), memberships are a way of enabling viewers to have benefits that other viewers won't have access to, while supporting these streamers. These can be a monthly fee that could bring stickers, exclusive content, and more.
Tomorrow's🎁: YouTube’s Memberships Gifting beta for select channels!You'll be able to gift channel memberships to others in the chat & they’ll get access to perks like badges & emojis.Details & Eligibility: https://t.co/Nx1nyPWEaK pic.twitter.com/1IEBIcUZgvMay 10, 2022
This is similar to subscribing to a streamer on Twitch, where you can also have benefits, but are able to watch a stream with no ads, and exclusive emoji's that you can use in the live chats.
If you're on YouTube, you can use this form to register (opens in new tab) for this beta program. While it's great to see YouTube try to match itself to Twitch, there's still a long way to go for the service overall.
Analysis: About time, but more work to be done
YouTube has been slowly rolling out features to help keep users on its service, and away from competitors such as Twitch and even TikTok.
But gifting memberships will be a big benefit to streamers who want to prolong the loyalty that their viewers have been keeping. Owing that loyalty can mean everything to fans of certain channels, but having something that others don't have will also be a big draw.
However, the company has had its fair share of struggles in recent years, with next to no communication on videos or channels that have been taken down with no notice, or monetization features being switched off, cutting off vital sources of income for others.
While gifting memberships is good news for those who want to offer this, YouTube should start to look at its copyright strike process first, which looks for unauthorized music and video clips, and mostly bans these videos for infringements.
The mix of new features so far feels muddled, but hopefully, by the year's end, we may start to see some progress at least on supporting its content creators more. And at the very least, memberships are a good start for this.