As battles regarding fair payment and equal compensation rage in industries across the world, Medium is making a decision to increase the amount of money certain authors on the platform receive. This decision showcases the growing disparity between media company policies, foreshadowing some kind of reckoning for more traditional organizations.
Digiday reports that Medium plans to focus on a “smaller, more motivated collection of authors” as part of their strategy, something that includes paying authors 50 percent of the revenue generated by their posts (after expenses related to payment processing, etc.). This compensation adds onto the existing practice that Medium uses, which pays authors based on the amount of time readers spend on their posts.
To be eligible for this compensation, authors must be part of Medium’s Partner Program, an initiative that includes over 200,000 members. Medium announced some eligibility changes for the Partner Program as well, explaining that new partners would need to “secure a modicum of traction on the platform” prior to receiving compensation.
Other media platforms have done this in the past–YouTube, with their monetization requirements and partner program, comes to mind–but Medium boasts a relatively high percentage of payouts: Digiday cites a grand total of around $28 million in the last four or so years.
Those payouts may lessen, though, as Medium revokes an experimental policy on giving some of the top authors on the platform monthly bonuses. This change may not be as impactful as it sounds, but it does add to the growing uncertainty many Medium authors feel regarding their payments.
However, one thing about this change is absolutely crystal-clear: It represents a media company giving substantially more value to its highest-performing creators–something that flies in the face of more traditional forms of media, such as cable. If older, established companies have any hope of competing with newer ones like Medium, they may need to prepare to offer their creators more equity in the process.
The last couple of years have been an absolute reckoning in terms of what frontline workers are prepared to handle. One can only assume that creators will follow.