YouTube Super Chat Lets Viewers Pay For Attention On Live Streams While Creators Earn Cash

YouTube is rolling out a new feature that is intended to help creators make money from their live streams while also giving them a way to connect with their most avid fans, ones that are willing to pay to be heard. The feature is called Super Chat. How it works is that fans can fork over funds to make their comments stand out from the crowd. The paid comments will also stick for a few hours.

This is reminiscent of the beta Cheering feature on Twitch that allows viewers to pay real money to have their messages stand out from the crowd by purchasing and posting "Bits," which are essentially animated icons, or emoticons. YouTube is going in a slightly different direction. When a viewer purchases a Super Chat, their message is highlighted and pinned at the top of the chat for up to 5 hours.

YouTube Super Chat

"For creators, this means Super Chat does double duty: keeping their conversations and connections with (super) fans meaningful and lively while also giving creators a new way to make money," YouTube stated in a blog post.

YouTube will start testing its Super Chat feature in beta form today. It has lined up a few creators to help out, including iHasCupquake, Great Library (buzzbean11), and Alex Wassabi. YouTube says a broader launch will take place on January 31 for creators in 20 countries and viewers in more than 40 countries.

For live streams that support Super Chat, a viewer can make a purchase by selecting the dollar sign in live chat (the live chat must be viewable and in portrait mode). The viewer can select an amount by dragging a slider to the desired value, then optionally enter a message and fire away.

As YouTube introduces Super Chat, it is getting rid of a previous method of paying creators called Fan Funding. The feature rolled out in 2014, though YouTube says it never really caught on outside of live streams, so it is discontinuing the feature on February 28.