YouTube is starting to feel the pressure from Instagram’s newly launched competitor, the long-form video service IGTV, as reports emerge that the Google-owned video site has been cutting top creators sizable checks to make sure they don’t stray.

According to a report from Business Insider, people familiar with the situation say that the checks generally range from 5 to 6 figures. In rare cases, they’re even hitting seven figures.

One star on the receiving end of YouTube’s generosity is the popular comedian Lilly Singh.

Some deals are still at the talking stage and they differ on a case-by-case basis, but they generally entail YouTube asking its biggest stars to post videos on its own platform first, or at least to post them concurrently on YouTube and other platforms like IGTV.

It’s clear that YouTube is taking IGTV seriously as a competitor. The new platform has already featured content from big YouTube names such as Smosh, along with other major outlets like CNN. The core Instagram app already boasts 500 million daily active users, so it’s no surprise that YouTube is stepping up.

One influencer expert told Business Insider that YouTube isn’t the only platform making big gestures to secure exclusive distribution, saying: “There is an all-out talent war going on.”

It’s not the first time that YouTube has offered money to creators. YouTube has been rewarding some creators financially for some time, and they occasionally offer them money to try out newer features like their live streaming communication tool Super Chat.

IGTV was launched by Instagram last month, and it allows individual videos to run for as long as an hour. Considered Instagram’s answer to YouTube, anyone can post on the platform and users can watch all manner of videos.

YouTube testing new ways to expand the reach of videos

YouTube has also been testing a new Explorer tab in its IOS app to help people discover videos and channels that they might not have seen otherwise. The feature pops up as a tab at the bottom of the home screen on the app for the 1% of users who have been selected to be part of the test. It will recommend videos to users based on what they’ve already seen using a broader scope than the current approach.

In a press release, they said they hope Explore will provide a space for creators of all sizes to get their content discovered. It appears to be an answer to Instagram’s Explore feature, which also enables users to discover new posts.

Tobias Matthews

Tobias Matthews


Writer at Fourth Source.