YouTube creators are becoming increasingly disillusioned with the platform in recent years. Algorithmic changes can tank the visibility of videos from both new and established uploaders, and clips can be demonetized for seemingly no reason at all at any time. These difficulties, combined with frequent copyright strikes and video takedowns, have made YouTube an unstable environment to build a business, forcing creators to seek alternative revenue streams — such as Patreon.
Patreon has its problems, but generally speaking, it’s popular among YouTubers, artists, and indie game developers of all stripes. Some YouTubers have even shut off ads on their channels, relying entirely on fan contributions through Patreon to stay afloat.
For those creators, a question might come up: what, exactly, is the point of YouTube? If people can’t find their videos due to unannounced algorithm changes, and they can’t profit off of ads, why bother with the platform at all?
That’s a question Patreon is seeking to answer now, according to The Verge. Moving forward, the company plans to launch its own video hosting platform so that creators that wish to do so can finally cut ties with YouTube or other, similar video services. Patreon CEO Jack Conte says the company’s ultimate goal is to create a “horizontal architecture” that allows any creator, no matter their medium, and no matter their upload format, to build a business around their work.
Patreon’s upcoming video hosting push is part of that. In the end, Conte wants to make his platform a one-stop-shop for all of a creator’s needs: revenue generation, media hosting, and communication with fans. Whether or not he can achieve that dream remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: more YouTube competitors can’t hurt.
Of course, Patreon’s video hosting service won’t be a direct competitor to YouTube. We doubt the site’s goal is to create a fully-featured video hosting platform that anyone can upload to. That would take years of effort, and it’s unlikely that non-Patreon users would make the jump.
Instead, Patreon aims to challenge Google’s dominance more subtly: by providing a very specific subsection of creators — those who don’t generate the bulk of their revenue through YouTube — with an alternative way to deliver content to their audience. Patreon is essentially cutting out the middleman.