YouTube’s launching a membership gifting feature in beta, which will be accessible to select channels starting today. YouTube’s memberships are a counterpart to Twitch’s subscriptions, which viewers can use to express financial support for creators while also gaining access to perks such as personalised emojis. Gifting subscriptions have now been available for a while on Twitch.
YouTube’s membership gifting beta will be available to a “limited set of creators” at first and will be expanded to more “over the next several months,” YouTube says on a website announcing the feature. Channels interested in testing the feature should fill up this Google Form, albeit you must first be qualified to enable memberships, which has its own set of requirements. And, for the time being, gifting will only be available to viewers using a desktop browser window, and purchasing gift memberships on mobile is something YouTube hopes to do before the feature’s complete debut.
Viewers would also have to opt-in to receive gifted memberships on a channel. Gifted memberships will be displayed in the chat, and you’ll need to click a link and then a toggle to allow gifts. This snapshot, obtained from a YouTube GIF, gives you a sense of what the experience is like:
“With Memberships Gifting, your channel members may buy a certain number of channel memberships (5, 10, 20) in a single purchase, which YouTube will ‘gift’ out to other viewers in your live broadcast,” YouTube states. “Viewers who get a gift membership enjoy one month of access to your channel membership features such as loyalty badges, unique emoticons, and more.” Viewers who get gift memberships do not pay any fees, and as the creator, you earn your standard income split from each transaction.”
Gifted memberships are just the most recent YouTube counterparts of significant Twitch features released to compete with Amazon’s successful streaming service. But YouTube hasn’t simply competed on features; it’s also persuaded several big Twitch stars, like DrLupo, TimTheTatman, Ludwig, and, in a partnership revealed just last week, Sykkuno, to broadcast exclusively on its platform.