YouTube delivered a devastating blow to video creators today. It came in the form of an email. It came on the heels of last year’s policy change and it concerns monetization of video content. It hurts channels with under 1,000 subscribers and less than 4,000 hours of view time per year.
Last year, they said channels needed to have 10,000 lifetime views in order to be monetized. Now, that some brand new channels have just achieved that or surpassed it, they are dealt a swift kick to the ribs. If you read the comments, you can just feel the wind knocked out of their sails.
This also encourages the use of services that offer to get channels followers for a fee. Channels that want authentic subscribers are penalized for not moving fast enough, and while 1,000 subscribers is not that many, the 4,000 hours is quite daunting. There are small YouTube channels that were making about $100-$200 dollars a year per channel and just starting to grow. Some have 2-3 channels so, maybe they are making $600 a year. Not a fortune, but it helped them buy equipment or other things for their videos, and they were encouraged by the growth and revenue they saw slowly increasing. Now they feel like they were just knocked to the ground, and feel YouTube does not support budding video creators.
YouTube says it is doing this in an effort to prevent bad actors, but many think that is not the case. I don’t agree either. If you see some of the content they allow on their platform, you would be appalled, content that is racist, pornographic or grotesque. The other thing is that while the small YouTubers are not able to earn even a small amount on their videos, YouTube still will. Nice isn’t it?
Oh, and the tools that creators can use now to help them grow their audience like ends screens, cards that come up and recommend other videos and playlists, they will not be available to those creators who do not qualify for the YouTube Partner Program. So this is just another blow, tell them to grow their channels and then take away the tools they need to do it.
They told video creators that they have until February 20th to meet these requirements and if not, the lights go out on their monetization efforts and ability to use creator tools. You might think this only affects new YouTubers, but truth is, it is affecting smaller channels that have been around for years and are growing slowly and producing specialized, quality content. The requirement of 4,000 hours of view time is crippling to most channels like that.
Here is the email that was sent today:
|Under the new eligibility requirements announced today, your YouTube channel, is no longer eligible for monetization because it doesn’t meet the new threshold of 4,000 hours of watchtime within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers. As a result, your channel will lose access to all monetization tools and features associated with the YouTube Partner Program on February 20, 2018 unless you surpass this threshold in the next 30 days. Accordingly, this email serves as 30 days notice that your YouTube Partner Program terms are terminated.|
|One of YouTube’s core values is to provide anyone the opportunity to earn money from a thriving channel. Creators who haven’t yet reached this new threshold can continue to benefit from our Creator Academy, our Help Center, and all the resources on the Creator Site to grow their channels. Once your channel reaches the new threshold, it will be reviewed to make sure it adheres to our policies and guidelines, and if so, monetization will be re-enabled.|
Below is the additional information posted on their creator blog:
YouTube Partner Program overview
The YouTube Partner Program (YPP) lets creators monetize their content on YouTube. Creators can earn money from advertisements served on their videos and from YouTube Red subscribers watching their content. You can apply to join the YouTube Partner Program from your account in Creator Studio.
Additional Changes to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) to Better Protect Creators
2017 marked a tough year for many of you, with several issues affecting our community and the revenue earned from advertising through the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). Despite those issues more creators than ever are earning a living on YouTube, with the number of channels making over six figures up over 40% year-over-year. In 2018, a major focus for everyone at YouTube is protecting our creator ecosystem and ensuring your revenue is more stable.
As Susan mentioned in December, we’re making changes to address the issues that affected our community in 2017 so we can prevent bad actors from harming the inspiring and original creators around the world who make their living on YouTube. A big part of that effort will be strengthening our requirements for monetization so spammers, impersonators, and other bad actors can’t hurt our ecosystem or take advantage of you, while continuing to reward those who make our platform great.
Back in April of 2017, we set a YPP eligibility requirement of 10,000 lifetime views. While that threshold provided more information to determine whether a channel followed our community guidelines and policies, it’s been clear over the last few months that we need a higher standard.
Starting today we’re changing the eligibility requirement for monetization to 4,000 hours of watchtime within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers. We’ve arrived at these new thresholds after thorough analysis and conversations with creators like you. They will allow us to significantly improve our ability to identify creators who contribute positively to the community and help drive more ad revenue to them (and away from bad actors). These higher standards will also help us prevent potentially inappropriate videos from monetizing which can hurt revenue for everyone.
On February 20th, 2018, we’ll also implement this threshold across existing channels on the platform, to allow for a 30 day grace period. On that date, channels with fewer than 1,000 subs or 4,000 watch hours will no longer be able to earn money on YouTube. When they reach 1,000 subs and 4,000 watch hours they will be automatically re-evaluated under strict criteria to ensure they comply with our policies. New channels will need to apply, and their application will be evaluated when they hit these milestones.
Though these changes will affect a significant number of channels, 99% of those affected were making less than $100 per year in the last year, with 90% earning less than $2.50 in the last month. Any of the channels who no longer meet this threshold will be paid what they’ve already earned based on our AdSense policies. After thoughtful consideration, we believe these are necessary compromises to protect our community.
Of course, size alone is not enough to determine whether a channel is suitable for monetization, so we’ll continue to use signals like community strikes, spam, and other abuse flags to ensure we’re protecting our creator community from bad actors. As we continue to protect our platform from abuse, we want to remind all of you to follow YouTube’s Community Guidelines, Monetization Basics & Policies, Terms of Service, and Google AdSense program policies, as violating any of these may lead to removal from the YouTube Partner Program.
While this change will tackle the potential abuse of a large but disparate group of smaller channels, we also know that the bad action of a single, large channel can also have an impact on the community and how advertisers view YouTube. We’ll be working to schedule conversations with our creators in the months ahead so we can hear your thoughts and ideas and what more we can do to tackle that challenge.
One of YouTube’s core values is to provide anyone the opportunity to earn money from a thriving channel, and while our policies will evolve over time, our commitment to that value remains. Those of you who want more details around this change, or haven’t yet reached this new 4,000 hour/1,000 subscriber threshold can continue to benefit from our Creator Academy, our Help Center, and all the resources on the Creator Site to grow your channels.
Even though 2017 was a challenging year, thanks to creators like you, it was full of the moments that make YouTube such a special place. Creators large and small, established and emerging, transformed their talent and originality into videos that captivated over a billion people around the world. They made us laugh, taught us about our world and warmed our hearts. We’re confident the steps we’re taking today will help protect and grow our inspiring community well into the future.
Neal Mohan, Chief Product Officer and Robert Kyncl, Chief Business Officer