Patreon creators can now upload videos directly to the platform. After hyping it up for a full year, Patreon Video will roll out to eligible creators on Patreon’s Pro and Premium plans.
“We’re just so excited to see what creators do with this,” Patreon CPO Julian Gutman told TechCrunch. “I think it’s going to free them up to kind of go back to producing the type of content that they want to produce, not what the algorithm wants.”
This offering helps creators ofter more incentives for their fans to turn into paying subscribers.
Previously, creators would share exclusive video content with their paid subscribers through unlisted Vimeo or YouTube links, which can easily be leaked and reach an unintended audience. But Patreon Video will give creators more control over their content while also creating a more seamless user experience for fans.
The product has a built-in promotional tool, allowing creators to choose a portion of the video to make public as a preview — if viewers want to see the rest, they’ll have to subscribe.
“We know that the way creators prefer to share their Patreon is to share some value to their fans, not just say, ‘Hey, I’m on Patreon,'” Gutman said. “So we’re really excited about this preview feature. During the beta, we’ve seen creators use it quite successfully to grow their memberships, and we’re really excited to scale it out.”
Creators’ uploads can be any length, and unlike many other platforms, there won’t be ads (Patreon in general doesn’t have ads, as it’s supported by subscribers). They will also have access to data like total views and average view duration, as well as insights into how many people are viewing the non-paywalled previews.
For now, Patreon creators on the Pro and Premium plans will be able to upload 500 hours of content for free. But Gutman told TechCrunch that by 2024, Patreon plans to transition this offering into a paid feature. As of now, the company has not yet worked out the pricing model.
“Once we launch pricing, we will let creators know and they’ll have six months to still use the 500 free hours,” Gutman said. “It’s really important to us to be transparent in terms of what the long term plan is on video.”
If successful, this product could offer an additional, strong revenue stream for creators. In beta, podcasts like “Dungeons and Daddies” and “Ladies & Tangents” used Patreon Video to supplement their public audio content with behind-the-scenes video clips.
This added revenue could be crucial for Patreon, which laid off 17% of its staff, or 80 employees, in September. CEO Jack Conte explained the layoffs by saying that Patreon was reducing its investment in the areas it cut — operations, recruiting and internal support functions — in order to increase investment in engineering, product and design.
Gutman told TechCrunch at the end of last year that the company’s goal for 2022 was to double its staff size. Despite the layoffs, Gutman said this plan has gone well, echoing Conte’s sentiment about expanding those key departments.
Patreon Video will be available on desktop and the iOS and Android apps; at launch, it will support AirPlay on Apple devices, with Android Chromecast coming soon. The Patreon mobile app will also support picture-in-picture viewing.