You Can Now Send Subscribers Videos on Substack Chat

Substack logo, with video and chat screen shots and illustration
Substack Video Chat rafapress/Shutterstock Courtesy of Substack

Substack is leveling up its video offerings. As of June 5, the platform has made it so creators can record and send video messages directly to their subscribers through Chat.

Along with instantly informing subscribers when a Chat video is posted, creators will also have the option to paywall Chat videos to select audiences.

Can you do videos on Substack?

Starting in 2022, Substack first introduced video to its platform. In 2023, it added a number of additional video features. This includes a video podcast uploader, a more flexible video paywall (which allows publishers to select a particular portion of a video for users to see for free), and a redesigned video page.

In May 2024, it also added video features to Notes, the Twitter-like short-form feed that it launched in 2023. But as of today, creators can also add videos to chats.

The company said in a press release that when it introduced video to Notes, it saw an “explosion of creativity across the platform.”

Based on this, Substack said that creators “asked for the option to use video in a more private space that they own and control, where they can be candid with their community.” 

Chat videos can be up to five minutes long. Creators will also have the option to allow subscribers to start their own video chat threads. Video replies aren’t available just yet, but are coming soon. 

Why did Substack add video features to Chat?

Platforms pivoting to video makes sense considering the current political instability surrounding TikTok. But in a blog post, Substack emphasized what makes its Chat feature different. Namely, the fact it isn’t governed by an “opaque algorithm.” 

“Think of video in Chat like sending a voice memo to a group chat, or recording a video for your Instagram story,” the platform wrote, “minus the opaque algorithm deciding whether your post gets seen.”

“Rather than getting lost in a sea of content, video in Chat is an easy way for creators to reach your people directly,” Substack wrote.

This change appears to be part of a larger push by Substack to make its app more video-orientated.

Last month, the platform launched its ‘Creator Studio’ Fellowship. This involved the platform choosing ten video creators to receive “white glove technical support” on the platform. While these creators would benefit from Substack’s 90/10 revenue split, they didn’t receive any money as part of this program. 

June 6, 2024, 9:00 a.m. ET: This article was updated to reflect the accurate date Substack launched its video features.

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