Famous YouTubers such as PewDiePie have lead many to believe that being a YouTuber is profitable. The reality for most people is quite different.
Whilst YouTubers with millions of subscribers make millions, channels that have over 100,000 subscribers normally earn enough for the host to work full time on their channel. This is the dream for many people, however it is important to realise that whilst many of these YouTubers are working full time uploading videos, they aren't making retirement money.
Smaller channels have it tougher and yesterday's announcement on YouTube about demonetising small channels are going to make it even harder.
I received an email from YouTube this morning about their decision to disable monetisation on all YouTube channels that have less than 4,000 hours of watchtime within the past 12 months and less than 1,000 subscribers.
Below is a copy of the full email that was sent out to creators.
Today we are announcing changes to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). While our goal remains to keep the YPP open to as many channels as possible, we recognize we need more safeguards in place to protect creator revenue across the YouTube ecosystem.
Under the new eligibility requirements announced today, your YouTube channel, Rise Forums, 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.
The YouTube Team
Their announcement blog post, entitled “Additional Changes to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) to Better Protect Creators“, goes into more detail.
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.
The message from YouTube is clear. In order to protect their community, they need to be more strict about who can and cannot monetise their channels.
They noted that 99% of those who are affected by this change were making less than $100 per year and 90% made less than $2.50 in the last month. YouTube has a lot of copyrighted videos and spam videos being uploaded that are monetised using a pump and dump strategy (or if you prefer, hit and run).
For example, if I was to upload clips of Friends, I would inevitably get lots of views and make money, but I would also be banned at some point. This has never discouraged uploaders in the past because they had made enough money to justify what they did and then they just create a new Google account and do the same again.
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.
Unfortunately, many legitimate YouTubers are going to get caught up in this too.
My Rise Forums YouTube Channel has made $188 within the last 12 months and this money is simply going to stop. As I noted previously, YouTube doesn't really pay well, especially when you consider the hours you put in, so for me to have this income removed is a little annoying.
As I write this my YouTube channel has also had 147,852 minutes of watch time over the last 12 months. That's 2,464 hours and 12 minutes of watch time. That's a serious amount of hours of people watching my videos, but ultimately less than the 4,000 hours YouTube wants YouTubers to have. Additionally, my Rise Forums YouTube channel has only 332 subscribers at this time, so I fall short there too.
It's Tough, But it Might Be For the Best
I am someone who is negatively affected by this change, but if I take a step back and look at this from a community point of view, I can see why they have did this.
Yes, I am losing money, but my Rise Forums channel hasn't really reached any significant milestones yet and if this change improves the quality of videos on YouTube and attracts more advertisers to channels that are eligible, it will be for the better.
You can see my thoughts on this whole subject in the video below.
What Say You?
The sheer size of YouTube means that whenever they decide to change something, be it the user interface or whatever, some people will be pleased and others will be disappointed. So it should be no surprise that many YouTubers will be upset by this new rule.
I can empathise with those with smaller YouTube channels that are being affected here though my hope is that this proves to be a good thing for the whole community.
What do you think about all of this?
Leave a comment below and let me know how you feel about this change.