YouTube has announced new terms to its Partner Program that will effectively demonetize every small channel on the platform.
The company sent a platform-wide email on Tuesday night to give users 30-days’ notice about the site’s new eligibility requirements requiring users to reach a threshold of at least 4,000 hours of watchtime within the past 12 months and a minimum of 1,000 subscribers.
To put it in perspective, 50,000 full views on a single, five-minute video is equal to 4,166 hours — a small order for any decent-sized channel.
Users who fail to meet this threshold will lose complete access to monetization tools and features associated with the YouTube Partner Program next month, on Feb. 20. The terms serve as an effective termination for everyone on the platform who fails to meet the goal by then.
The company has not clarified the status of channels belonging to a partnership network or MCN, which provide smaller channels advertising, monetization and copyright services. However, it states that users who fail to meet eligibility will be paid out whatever they’re currently owed by YouTube.
Channels that fail to meet the requirements but later exceed the threshold will be automatically re-evaluated under new criteria to ensure that their content complies with YouTube policies. New channels will have to manually apply for evaluation.
The company states that the initiative is to “prevent bad actors from harming the inspiring and original creators around the world who make their living on YouTube,” and that the decision ultimately comes from a desire to “protect our creator ecosystem and ensuring your revenue is more stable.”
“These higher standards will also help us prevent potentially inappropriate videos from monetizing which can hurt revenue for everyone,” states YouTube. The company writes:
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.
The decision to implement the new rules follows the ongoing “adpocalypse,” in which many popular independent YouTube channels saw a tremendous dip in their advertising revenue over the past year.
The reaction to the changes has been met with derision on social media from smaller creators affected by the demonetization, which some expressing the belief that the changes are a backlash to the bad press created by Logan Paul’s “suicide forest” video.
“Dear YouTube creator, because Logan Paul pissed off our advertisers, we’re demonetizing your channel until you reach new standards that, according to our metrics, you’ve already reached.
Have fun with that!”
— Dr. NerdLove (@DrNerdLove) January 17, 2018
Youtube is now punishing new/smaller creators in response to the logan paul incident. I had a feeling this would happen and others would feel the backlash of his mistake, it’s a shame. pic.twitter.com/xh0YidXxPG
— RyansAverageLife (@RyanAbe) January 17, 2018
lol thanks YouTube pic.twitter.com/x3LY7ARI76
— Rachel & Jun (@RachelAndJun) January 17, 2018
Can I just say that today @YouTube decided to remove monetization options for small creators and then expressed that they’d be willing to work with Logan Paul again. I don’t know if it gets more blatant than that. 🙂
— Kat Blaque (@kat_blaque) January 17, 2018
Logan: i’m gonna fuck up the entire platform for my self-gain.
Everybody else: no logan plz the new year just started.
YouTube: hold my beer fam.
Everybody else: youtube plz. pic.twitter.com/zuQJewVkI5
— Joey (@TheAn1meMan) January 17, 2018
Stop punishing channels which don’t upload daily vlogs over 15 minutes long
Let us create and for our audience to just *see* it… That’s it.
Lay off on the algorithms and let people make human decisions using their own brains
— Sammy (@SammyAlbon) January 16, 2018
— Paige McKenzie (@hauntedsunshine) January 17, 2018
However, not everyone thinks it’s a bad idea—with some stating that the platform should have never automatically monetized new channels in the first place. Prominent voices, including the owner of YouTube’s most popular channel, Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg, expressed some support for the move.
As annoying as it is, that THIS is YouTube’s response to the Logan Paul thing. Or at least it seems like it. I’m with you, it shouldn’t be an issue to not to monetize before you hit these numbers.
— pewdiepie (@pewdiepie) January 17, 2018
Firstly, if you read this as a new/aspiring creator and give up, you never wanted it badly enough to begin with. They should’ve never allowed any channel to monetize right out of the gate.
Secondly, still waiting on YouTube’s plan to deal with how they incentivize awful content. https://t.co/gTMHIjN4bp
— Rob Dyke (@TheRobDyke) January 16, 2018
I know this new @YouTube change is going to make a lot of small channels mad. But look at it this way, once you do meet the requirement again you’ll be competing with far less scam, theft & impersonation channels & CPMs will be much higher once the bad channels die off. #Fact https://t.co/KKigdPxZFp
— Barnacules Nerdgasm (@Barnacules) January 17, 2018
Advertisers’ current ad inventory is spread too thinly throughout the platform across low-quality channels, providing them with a poor return on investment. As such, quality content creators receive very little in the way of ad revenue.
With less fly-by-night channels to compete against for ads, content creators will see increased revenue—at least in theory. Likewise, YouTube will be able to sell ad space on mainly high-quality, monetized channels, providing advertisers with better returns and make the platform more attractive to prospective advertisers.