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Twitter is finally paying its best users to create videos

Twitter’s 70/30 revenue split is better than YouTube’s deal.

Fullscreen Presents INTOUR 2014
Internet star Chris Collins has more than two million YouTube subscribers, and almost twice as many Vine followers.
Jesse Grant / Getty

Twitter wants the kind of video creators YouTube has — and the massive audiences that come with them.

To make this dream a reality, the company is pulling a page from YouTube’s playbook: It’s going to sell ads alongside creator videos and share that ad revenue with the people making the content. And Twitter is offering very appealing terms.

Unlike YouTube, which gives 55 percent of the money to creators and keeps 45 percent, Twitter is using the same revenue split it already offers other Amplify video partners, like the NFL: 70 percent to the content creator and 30 percent back to Twitter, according to a person familiar with the arrangement.

Of course, Twitter needs to offer an appealing revenue split like this. It’s nowhere close to the video destination YouTube and even Facebook have become, and it’s late to the game when it comes to paying creators. The network’s high-profile stars have wanted a revenue split for some time — it’s been a point of contention for the company’s stable of “Vine stars,” many of whom have left for places like YouTube where their videos actually make money.

So even with an appealing offer, it's unclear whether Twitter will be able to entice creators and viewers who already think of other video platforms first, or if the move is too little too late.

A few more details about Twitter's update:

  • Twitter already offers this same revenue split to some premium content creators, like the NFL. But this move is for YouTube-style stars, and also automates the process — approved creators simply click a rev-share button when they upload their video.
  • The revenue split only applies to video on Twitter, not its other video properties, Vine and Periscope. At least not broadly. (Vine started experimenting with a similar program back in June). Expanding it to those other platforms is a logical next step.
  • Twitter is not requiring content exclusives as part of the deal. That means creators can post the same video to Twitter that they also post elsewhere.
  • Twitter will not provide any advance funding to creators as incentive for trying the program. This isn't a shock. While Facebook has been paying all kinds of users to use its livestreaming feature, Twitter has refused to pay people (at least publicly) to use its own broadcast tool, Periscope.
  • Anyone can apply for the program beginning Tuesday, though it's only open to U.S. users.

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