Patreon creators no longer have to rely on third-party sites like YouTube or Vimeo to share video content. Instead, the platform launched its own native video feature on Thursday. “There are no ads, no trolls in the comments, and you never have to worry about ending up on the wrong side of the algorithm,” Patreon said in its announcement.
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The new product, aptly named Patreon Video, has been in the works for a full year. It will allow creators to upload their content directly on Patreon without needing to navigate the hassle of embedding external links or having what is supposed to be subscriber-only content available for viewing on other platforms.
Videos through the new feature will be high definition, allow for picture-in-picture, can be any length, and will be cast-able between devices, according to Patreon. The site will also easily allow for creators to make and share previews of paid video content, and select exactly who of their fanbase can watch each post.
The catch: Patreon Video won’t be free long-term. For now, eligible Pro and Premium plan creators (i.e. those in good standing and not making adult content) get cost-free early access, with 500 hours of video via the feature that they can use any time through at least the first six months of 2023. But once that trial stage ends, Patreon plans to introduce a price system “that takes into account the cost of hosting and streaming.”
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“Once we launch pricing, we will let creators know and they’ll have six months to still use the 500 free hours,” the company’s Chief Product Officer Julian Gutman told Tech Crunch. “It’s really important to us to be transparent in terms of what the long term plan is on video,” Gutman added.
Added income from pay-to-post videos could be instrumental for the company, as Patreon has struggled to stay afloat this year. Just two months ago, the company laid off 80 employees, or about 17% of its staff.
At the very least though, videos created during the free trial period won’t disappear or end up behind a pay barrier for creators. And the company claims users will maintain the option of linking and embedding videos hosted on other platforms.
Though, the biggest third-party options have become less appealing recently. Earlier this year, Vimeo reportedly started to demand high payments (up to thousands of dollars) from Patreon creators using its platform.