YouTube announced a new feature today aimed at helping creators make money while connecting with their fans during a live stream: Super Chat. The addition is reminiscent of streaming site Twitch’s Cheering feature, which allow viewers to pay real money in order to have their messages stand out in the chat stream through the use of emotes (animated icons.) In YouTube’s case, fans instead are able to highlight their message in a bright color, and have their comment pinned on the stream.
Though the implementation is different from Twitch’s, the goal is the same: it’s a means of allowing fans to pay real money in exchange for attention. (It’s also not all that different from technologies porn cam sites have used in their own chat systems for years, which typically involve the purchase of tokens.)
As YouTube explains in its blog post announcing the new feature, Super Chats will remain pinned to the top of the chat for up to five hours, which gives the message a lot of airtime.
Creators, of course, benefit from the feature not only by being able to better connect with their bigger fans, but also because it’s another means of generating revenue from their videos.
Along with the launch of Super Chat, YouTube is debuting an API that will allow developers to access real-time purchase data from the system. This API will replace the Fan Funding API, which will be shut down.
The launch follows a number of changes for YouTube aimed at bettering the experience for creators and viewers alike. Earlier this week, YouTube announced it would begin showcasing new talent on a weekly basis on its Trending section, while last year it rolled out a new Creator Hub, benefits program, improved support, and others tools, and launched a social network of sorts with YouTube Community.
Super Chat is launching today into beta with top YouTubers, including iHasCupquake, Great Library (buzzbean11) and Alex Wassabi. It will roll out more broadly at month end for creators in 20 countries and viewers in more than 40 countries, the company says.