YouTube Launches Super Chat; Fan Funding For Creators

Jan 14, 2017 06:30 AM EST | Jeroah Sabado

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YouTube has announced a new fan funding feature called Super Chat, it allows viewers to pay to pin a comment during a YouTuber's live stream. This feature will allow fans to support their favorite channels and help content creators make money while connecting with their followers.

This new update is almost similar with that of Twitch's current offering, the Cheering, which allows fans to view the stream to pay a certain amount of money and have their messages stand out in the chat stream by using emoticons. But in YouTube's case however, fans are able to highlight messages themselves using different colors, and have it pinned on the stream.

To use Super Chat, a viewer must pay real money first by clicking on the dollar sign in the chat interface before their messages will be pinned to the top of the chat box, and the more money a fan gives, the longer those messages will remain on top. Keep in mind that Super Chat has a moderation tool where content creators can also blacklist inappropriate chat words or block harassing viewers.

Barbara Macdonald, YouTube's product manager, explained that Super Chat's goal is to help die-hard fans to reach out to their favorite YouTubers real time, and vice versa. The addition will replace YouTube's Fan Funding, a tool for viewers to pay creators to improve their channels.

YouTube says the tool is only for viewers ages 18 and above, or anyone with a credit card, but it's a fact that youngsters might sneak through their parents' bags, get a hold of their cards and misuse their wallets. For now, YouTube said that any unwanted charges could be disputed through Google customer service, but advices the public to also take note of Google's strict policy regarding donations.

The launch follows a number of updates on the site itself. Just this month, Google announced it would start showcasing new talents on a weekly basis on YouTube's Trending section, as part of YouTube's plans to improve the experience for content creators and viewers.

As of now, Super Chat is still on beta, and only available for top YouTubers, including iHasCupquake, buzzbean11, and Alex Wassabi. Google is yet to confirm whether it will be available for all creators, but said it plans to roll out to more users by the end of this month.

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