YouTube is rolling out gifted memberships in beta, and they will be available to select channels beginning Wednesday. Memberships are YouTube’s version of Twitch subscriptions, which viewers can use to show creators financial support and gain access to perks like custom emoji. Twitch users have been able to buy gift subscriptions for some time, but if you’ve wanted to buy gift memberships for other fans of a YouTube channel, you haven’t.
The membership giveaway beta will be available to a “small group of creators” to start with and will expand to more “in the coming months,” says YouTube. on a page about the feature. Channels interested in testing the feature can complete this google formthough you’ll need to already be eligible to enable memberships in the first place, which you have your own set of requirements. And the giveaways will only be available to viewers using a desktop browser window to get started — buying giveaway memberships on mobile is something YouTube plans to roll out for the feature’s full launch.
Viewers will also need to subscribe in order to receive gift memberships to a channel (which could be a way to prevent harassment, like YouTube’s changes to his version of raids). Gifted memberships will appear in chat, and you’ll need to click a link and then a switch to allow gifts. You can get an idea of what the experience looks like from this screenshot, taken from a YouTube GIF:
“With Memberships Gifting, your channel members can purchase a set number of channel memberships [5, 10, 20] in a single purchase, which YouTube will ‘give away’ to other viewers on your live stream,” says YouTube. “Viewers who receive a gift membership get 1 month of access to their channel membership benefits like loyalty badges, custom emoji and more. Viewers who receive gift memberships do not pay any fees, and as a creator, you receive your usual share of the revenue from each transaction.”
Gifted memberships are only the latest YouTube versions of main features of Twitch introduced to better compete with Amazon’s popular streaming service. But YouTube has not only been competing in features, it has also attracted some big names from Twitch, including DrLupo, timthetatman, Luisand, in a deal announced last week, Sykkunoto stream exclusively on their platform.