MrBeast, Jimmy Donaldson, to test Elon Musk’s X video promises


Elon Musk has had his wish granted after YouTube’s biggest star, MrBeast, uploaded his content on X for the first time.

However, the richest man on earth may have got a bit more than he bargained for after the influencer pledged to publicly share details of how much revenue the platform will pay out for the video.

Previously MrBeast, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson, said at the beginning of the month he wouldn’t be making the move from YouTube to X because the latter platform “wouldn’t fund a fraction” of his production costs.

On Jan. 2, Donaldson said he might make the switch once monetization was “really cranking,” but just 20 days after making that statement, the online personality is experimenting with the new platform.

However, there’s a catch. Donaldson isn’t taking any chances debuting his content on X alone: instead he’s reuploading a video he first published on YouTube four months ago.

The video—in which MrBeast tests a $1 car versus a $100,000,000 car—was uploaded to YouTube on Sept. 16 and has already amassed nearly six million “likes.”

Donaldson explained on X: “I’m curious how much ad revenue a video on X would make so I’m reuploading this to test it.” Then added: “Will share ad rev next week.”

That may be a little more than Musk had bargained for. Although other content creators have shared the amount they made on the platform, none have the same scale of following as Donaldson—nor the same production costs to cover.

Donaldson had previously said his videos cost “millions” to make, so even if they gained a billion views on X the ad revenue would not be enough to cover the costs.

Musk won’t have to wait long to find out whether big-name content creators like MrBeast are likely to stick around, as the video star pledged to share screenshots of the revenue generated by the post on Jan. 22.

Posting late last week, Donaldson asked his followers how much they think a post with 124 million views made in a week. Most—36%—believed it would generate $10,000, 27% believed $100,000 and 16.6% believed it would be $1 million or more.

“Will share screenshot of rev in 3 days,” the post promised.

The uncertainty about revenue expressed by Donaldson’s followers may not be surprising, as X’s policy on payment is complex. On its creator dashboard, X says users will be eligible to be paid up to 97% of the revenue X makes from the content.

However, it adds this is after in-app purchase fees up to a threshold of $50,000 in lifetime earnings across all X products. After the $50,000 mark is hit up to 90% of the revenue can be claimed.

There are further caveats laid out in the subscriptions creator terms, reading: “We may pay you a share of the revenue we have earned from the sale of subscriptions to access your account at a rate which will depend, in X’s discretion, on several factors.” These factors include fees, taxes, the total number of subscribers, and more.

X adds creators must “understand this and should have no expectation that any particular revenue percentage or amount will apply, or continue to apply, over time.”

For his part, Donaldson seemed impressed with the reach X had. “100M views? Dang lol,” he wrote after posting the video. At the time of writing the video has now amassed more than 155 million views, while the original video on YouTube has 215 million.

The everything app

A public litmus test by one of the world’s biggest video creators could make or break Musk’s dream to pivot X—previously known as Twitter—to become a “video-first” platform.

In a blog post published on Jan. 9, X touted a new video feature that is much like TikTok’s full-screen infinite scroll, and that has over 100 million daily users—”more than half of whom are Gen Z, the fastest growing audience on X,” the blog post claimed.

It also mentioned letting users publish longer-form videos, crowing that “In December alone, people watched 130 years’ worth of videos 30 minutes or longer.”

However, critics, skeptics and even insiders aren’t sold on the promises of the release. One source told Fortune: “I think it’s way too early to declare us a video-first platform.”

Others pointed out there were no metrics to back up the claims X made at the beginning of the year, while many of the Silicon Valley in-crowd are reportedly sniggering at video pivots by tech companies increasingly being used as a Hail Mary.

Musk and X CEO Linda Yaccarino may need to pull a metaphorical rabbit out of a hat if they’re going to keep the platform afloat. With advertisers leaving the platform in droves, X’s revenue from the operation reportedly slumped to $2.5 billion in 2023, compared to almost $1 billion per quarter in 2022.

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