In January, YouTube announced it will raise the requirements that a channel or creator must meet in order to monetize videos.
Google released a new approach to YouTube’s monetization policy which includes three significant changes: stricter criteria for monetization on YouTube, manually reviewing Google Preferred and greater transparency, and simpler controls over where ads appear.
The video-sharing website is tightening their rules around its YouTube Partner Program (YPP), which is what allows publishers to make money through advertising. Under the new regulations, creators on YouTube must have garnered 4,000 hours of overall watch time on their channels in the past year and have at least 1,000 subscribers to apply for monetization and have ads attached to videos via Google AdSense.
YouTube will enforce the new eligibility policy for all existing channels as of February 20th, meaning channels that fail to meet the threshold will no longer be able to make income from ads.
Melanie Mitchell, Florida A&M University (FAMU) alumna, is one creator whose channel’s monetization is in jeopardy.
“I think the policy is ridiculous. I believe they only put it in place after the Logan Paul situation, but it only caters to people with YouTube channels as big as Logan’s. The smaller creators are suffering,” said Mitchell, who also co-hosts On My Grown: The Podcast.
Logan Paul, one of YouTube’s star creators and influencers, was dropped from Google Preferred ad program when he published a video that showed a dead body in Japan’s Aokigahara forest. The stricter policy was announced following the backlash from Paul’s controversial video, but advertisers have complained for years about unexpectedly appearing alongside inappropriate videos on YouTube’s platform.
Adrian Issac content creator and co-host of the For the Culture podcast stated YouTube should have seen the breakdown coming.
“Traditional media have rating systems so that the audience, and the advertiser, know what to expect from a particular program. YouTube did not have such an efficient system,” he said.
Isaac, also known by his Youtube username AdrianXpression, creates content on YouTube to inspire others to be themselves. As a black, LGBT male, he offers a unique perspective on pop culture, current events, and politics.
Although YouTube has established and solidified itself in the lives of the general public, AdrianXpression has made more of an effort to diversify his content of different platforms.
“There are other helpful sites for creators, like Patreon, that I’ve taken advantage of,” added the social justice warrior. “However, YouTube is still YouTube. They know the power they have online.”
YouTube also plans to introduce a three-tier suitability system that will allow for greater transparency and control from advertisers on the placements for their brand. While the video-sharing service is working to solve its advertising issues, its methods may deter smaller content creators from continuing to make videos.
Another YouTuber and FAMU alumnae, Shaakira White, says these changes may discourage people with new ideas and content from following through with their dreams.
“Granted, I know that nothing should stop people from chasing their dreams. However, if they feel invisible on a platform that doesn't acknowledge their existence, they stand a lesser chance of putting their ideas out,” said White.
“I do feel like YouTube will phase itself out over time. The changes that they are making are setting them back tremendously,” White added. “I'd love to see another platform where content creators that aren't as valued on YouTube can come together and be offered more opportunities.”