YouTube will allow users to gift paid subscriptions to each other

It's the latest in a series of features cloned from Twitch.

Fred Prouser / reuters

Starting tomorrow, YouTube will give both fans and creators the ability to gift paid channel subscriptions. A number of influential streamers tweeted the announcement today, many of whom were ecstatic about a new monetization tool. Gifted subs have been a popular feature on Twitch — YouTube Gaming's main rival— for a while. Many streamers see subscriptions as an easy way to generate revenue while also building their community. But YouTube has dragged its heels on releasing the much-anticipated feature for some time. Finally, YouTube Japan tested the waters with gifted memberships earlier this year for a select number of channels. Gifted memberships — which is still in beta — will now be available to all YouTube Gaming users in the US and UK.

Fans normally pay $4.99 per month for channel memberships, which allow them to access user badges, emotes and other exclusive content by their favorite creators. YouTube Gaming has released a number of other Twitch-like features this year, such as Live Redirects, which allow streamers to send fans to other streams or premieres.

While Twitch remains the biggest US-based platform for livestreaming, a number of its high-profile streamers have decamped in recent years for YouTube Gaming. And there may be more to follow. Bloomberg reported last month that Twitch partners will get a smaller cut of revenue from subscriptions (50 percent from 70 percent) under a new monetization model by the Amazon-owned platform. YouTube Gaming takes only 30 percent of a streamer’s revenue from channel subscriptions. While YouTube Gaming doesn’t have as big of an audience as Twitch, that could easily change if more popular Twitch creators leave for greener pastures.