Earlier this week, popular video platform YouTube announced a new eligibility requirement to monetize videos in an attempt to better the YouTubing community. For new and existing content creators, even advertisers, the guidelines states that channels need to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time in the past year to qualify for monetization, and this tightens the metrics for the YouTube Partner Program which is what allows publishers to make money through advertising.
YouTube will enforce the new eligibility policy for all existing channels on February 20, meaning that channels that fail to meet the threshold will no longer be able to make income from ads. This announcement comes just a couple of weeks after influencer Logan Paul uploaded a video on his channel that featured the body of a man who appeared to have recently committed suicide. Paul’s actions drew widespread condemnation for both himself and YouTube. In response, YouTube announced on Jan. 10 that Paul would be removed from Google Preferred and all his YouTube Red projects were put on hold indefinitely.
YouTube suffered similar negative attention in February 2017 when Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg posted a video that included anti-Semitic imagery. Like Paul, Kjellberg was removed from Google Preferred and lost the second season of his YouTube series, Scare PewDiePie. According to the platform, the change will allow for fewer competition amongst creators applying to have their content monetized, as the rules are designed to restrict the number of those eligible for advertising on their channel.
To put it simply, YouTube wants to stifle out small content creators from the pool, allowing a cash flow that circulates between channels with a high, subscriber loyalty. It’s a capitalist move that will keep influencers and celebrity channels still in business. And not all content creators are happy with this policy, though some are seeing it as a challenge. Fashion and beauty blogger Deola Adebiyi on Twitter sadly expressed how Google’s subsidiary doesn’t care about small creators like her and urged Nigerians to support local YouTubers than international ones. “I will keep making videos until my lungs give out.” she said.
Today, Youtube announced that channels that haven’t reached 1000 subs and 4,000 hours of watchtime will not be able to make money anymore.
— Deola Adebiyi (@d3ola) January 17, 2018
Her grievance drew anger and sympathy in equal parts, with tweets trickling in to support and subscribe to her channel. As someone who randomly consumes content from different channels every day, I’m aware of how video watch time and subscriber numbers can accrue to money, and setting the bar high for this to be achieved harms the local creators that are putting in the work in a community that has grown from their labour. Furthermore, vloggers like Logan Paul and PewDiePie, though with a significantly less celebrity breed, still lurk around with their harmful politics – and YouTube still continues to amplifying their voices.
We reached out to Youtube’s Nigerian team for a quote on the controversy brewing and we got this quote further explaining the issue.
We’ve just announced a new rigorous approach to monetization to curb bad actors, stabilize creator revenue and provide greater assurances to advertisers around where their ads are placed.
Our recent changes to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) are designed to curb bad actors, stabilize creator revenue and provide greater assurances to advertisers around where their ads are placed. By making these updates to YPP, we aim to help creators of all sizes find more success. We have many free resources in place such as our Creator Academyand YouTube Spaces to help those just starting out build a community around their channel so that they can ramp-up fast and monetize their videos.
You can find more on this on our blog
The next few months will be instrumental to seeing how this plays out.