Tech Roundup: Paying Up to $500 to Chat With a Live Streamer


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Andre Rebelo, live-streams his Grand Theft Auto 5 Mods game at home in Vancouver.

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Rafal Gerszak for The New York Times

YouTube has been a source of many videos and memes that have wound their way into popular culture. Now the Google-owned video site may increasingly be a source of ideas for how to make more money online, too.

Consider the Super Chat feature that YouTube started this year, Laura Parker writes. When YouTube creators use Super Chat, they can ask members of their audience to pay anything from $1 to $500 to have their comments highlighted during a live stream. The more a viewer pays, the more characters they can include in a comment and the longer the comment will be highlighted.

The use of Super Chat gives YouTubers a new way, beyond advertising and subscriptions, to make money. When Andre Rebelo, a YouTube streamer in Vancouver, British Columbia, live-streamed himself playing the video game Grand Theft Auto V in January with Super Chat turned on, viewers paid him $4,000 during his 90-minute session to have their comments featured prominently on his broadcast.

Other video-streaming platforms have added similar features. Last year, Twitch, an Amazon-owned live-streaming platform that focuses on video games, started Cheering, a feature that lets people “tip” streamers during a live stream.

Even though some critics are concerned about how paid comments can distort an online community, live streamers have for the most part welcomed the new Super Chat and Cheering features.

“This is my business and how I pay the bills,” Clintus McGintus, a YouTube video blogger in Phoenix, said of his live streaming. “Super Chat is the next level. Tipping on stream and getting a shout-out or having your comment read by the content creator is a great feeling.”

More tech news:

• Google appeared to stymie a marketing stunt by Burger King, which had introduced a television ad intended to prompt voice-activated Google devices to describe its burgers. Within hours of the ad’s release — and humorous edits to the Whopper Wikipedia page by mischievous users — tests from The Verge and Buzzfeed showed that the commercial had stopped activating the device.

• Exuberant investors have driven up the share price of Tesla, putting the upstart in the league of car companies that have been in the business for a century. But there are others who think Tesla has become an overpriced investment — and something of a risky play in the near or medium term.

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