http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech-and-science/technology/youtube-livestreams-now-have-their-own-tip-jar/article/483594

YouTube livestreams now have their own tip jar

Posted Jan 13, 2017 by James Walker
Google has unveiled a new YouTube feature designed to help creators make more money from their livestreams. Super Chat acts as a kind of virtual tip jar, letting viewers pay to have their comments promoted to the top of the stream.
The YouTube app
The YouTube app
Pexels / freestocks.org
Super Chat is aimed at the most dedicated livestreamer fans. In a similar fashion to live gaming network Twitch, stream viewers can now purchase a Super Chat to have their opinions stand out in the thread. Once the message has been published, it'll be pinned to the top of the chat stream, distinct from the rest of the messages.
Super Chat pins will remain at the top of the thread for up to five hours, effectively allowing people who pay to get their voices heard or choose the topic of discussion. It solves the difficulty of being noticed in a busy livestream chatroom while creating a division between people willing to pay and those who just come to watch.
Super Chat arrives at the expense of Fan Funding, an older money-making tool for content creators introduced in 2014. It allowed viewers to make voluntary payments to content creators to directly support their income. Despite being available across YouTube, it saw little usage outside of livestreaming and will now be discontinued with Super Chat as a new alternative.
Super Chat for YouTube
Super Chat for YouTube
Google
Google said Super Chat will help fans and creators to remain connected while evolving the chat room experience and increasing revenue. Streamers will be able to experiment with a new income source that encourages viewers to express their thoughts and lead the discussion.
"Today, we are introducing our latest tool for fans and creators to connect with one another during live streams: Super Chat," said Google. "Anybody watching a live stream can purchase a Super Chat: a highlighted message in the chat stream that stands out from the crowd to get even more of your favorite creator’s attention."
Google hasn't indicated how it will make sure Super Chat messages aren't abused. With a maximum stay of five hours, it's possible spammers and advertisers could use the system to promote their products or messages for minimal outlay. It's also unclear if there are safeguards to prevent children inadvertently racking up purchases on parents' cards.
Google is currently testing Super Chat in beta form with a handful of popular channels. The feature will roll out publicly on January 31. Creators in 20 countries will be able to engage with fans in over 40 regions initially.