A monitor displays financial news about Twitter at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York on Feb. 11.
Photograph by Michael Nagle — Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Mathew Ingram
August 30, 2016

In an attempt to compete with much larger video-distribution platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, Twitter said on Tuesday that it will now pay individual video creators a share of the advertising revenue that is generated by their videos.

The monetization feature, known as the Amplify Publisher program, was previously open only to a small group of publishers and media partners such as BuzzFeed, Vox Media, and Time Inc. (which owns Fortune).

The expanded program will allow anyone who has been approved by the company to make money from pre-roll ads on their videos by simply checking a box before they post it to the network, according to a blog post written by Twitter product manager Guy Snir.

Video creators can choose whether to add the advertising feature to each clip they post, or can opt in to having advertising added to all of the videos they upload, and they maintain the right to monetize the same content on other video platforms.

Publishers who are part of Twitter’s existing Amplify program get 70% of the revenue from the ads on their videos, but it’s not clear whether individual creators will get the same split (one report says it will). YouTube shares an average of 55% of its revenue with video artists who use the platform’s monetization features.

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Twitter (TWTR) hasn’t said how it will choose which users are approved for the new program, but it does have more than 35,000 content creators who are signed up with Niche, the marketing startup it acquired last year that helps video artists on Twitter’s Vine service connect with brands.

The company has been criticized in the past by video creators who use Vine for not helping them make money on their videos, something that has driven some users to YouTube.

The Alphabet subsidiary (GOOG) rolled out its YouTube Red subscription service last year, in what it said was an attempt to generate more dependable revenue for artists and media entities that use the service to host their content, and some Vine artists have moved to that model.

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Facebook (FB), meanwhile, doesn’t currently monetize its videos through pre-roll advertising, but it has been paying both media companies and individuals to use its live-streaming feature. According to one report, the social network is paying some Vine artists as much as $24,000 per video to use the feature.

In June, Twitter released a stand-alone app called Twitter Engage that allows celebrities to track their content and interact with fans, and the app will now have a section called “Earnings” that allows users to see how much they have made from the Amplify program.

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