The Bad News
On January 16th the news came from YouTube that many people will dread hearing. Previously YouTube required all creators to have at least 10,000 lifetime channel views in order to apply for monetization again. Many have felt this policy would be tightened and as of today that’s exactly what has happened.
This post was added to the YouTube Creator blog from Neal Mohan and Robert Kyncl. Here’s a rundown of the basics of this notice.
- Channels must have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of views over the last 365 days in order to stay monetiezed.
- This policy is effective immediately for new channels, but won’t go into effect until Feb. 20, 2018 for existing channels.
- 99% of affected channels earn less than $100 per year.
- 90% of affected channels earned less than $2.50 in the past month.
What this means simply is that as of February 20th you will not have monetization anymore if you have less than 1,000 subs and 4,000 hours of watch time in the last 12 months. Sub count is easy to check for, you either have them or you don’t. When it comes to the watch time you’ll have to visit your creator studio to check how you’re doing there.
Visit your creator studio, go into analytics and change the time period to “Last 365 Days”. The magic number is Watch Time at 240,000 minutes. This number is equal to 4,000 hours. I’ve highlighted the sections to look at in the picture below.
As you can see, I am no longer going to be monetized as of February 20th.
What does this mean for me?
For myself and many creators like me, it means that I’ll have to hit these marks before I’ll be able to make money after this point. According to the article any site that is currently receiving monetization will be reviewed automatically upon reaching the required numbers. It’s worth noting though: If you’ve already made money via monetization you will still keep that money. I have seen this question asked in a few locations and thought I should put it here as well.
Personally I’m very close to the mark already so it hopefully won’t take me long to get there. I feel really bad for folks who are putting quality content, but aren’t anywhere near this mark. Even though YouTube claims most channels made under $2.50 in ad revenue, mine was much closer to the $15 per month ball park.
How are people reacting?
The comments contain a lot of what you’d expect. A large number of upset creators are expressing their anger. Comments include the following:
The soul crushing comment will probably hit home for many of you reading this. I agree, for many this news will certainly demoralize a lot of creators, especially the ones who were just recently approved. I feel your pain folks, I really do.
What does this mean for the future of YouTube?
I feel like many creators will certainly drop out of the game with this news. These are the most strict regulations yet. For those of whom currently meet the criteria I believe this is a good thing actually. This should hopefully drive up the demand as the number of potential advertising spots will be significantly less. It also means there will be, in theory at least, more higher quality spots available. I do however think it will reduce the competition slightly so if you’re not in it for money right away you might find yourself in a better position to be discovered.
So will YouTube fail now? Absolutely not. These issues facing creators mean absolutely nothing to viewers in general and there is still a lot of great content out there on YouTube. Remember, YouTube is the largest video site on the web and the 2nd largest search engine in the world. A few angry creators will not cause that to change too much.
What can creators do to combat this?
If you’re in a bind and are now finding yourself in a world of zero monetization you are not completely without hope. There are many other great ways to make money online with your videos. Smaller channels are still able to leverage methods like Affiliate Marketing, Merch Sales, and crowdfunding sites like Patreon. Sure, it’s a little bit tougher than uploading videos and collecting the ad revenue, but good businessman can manage these sorts of downfalls.
Other sites like Twitch and Facebook are doing some smaller testing with monetization options of their own, so trying other platforms may also be a viable option in the near future. Facebook is trying very hard to compete with YouTube on the video front and this could open a door for Facebook to attract some creators away from the Tube platform over to theirs. I don’t want you to take this paragraph as me saying “Yeah, leave YouTube now!”. I’m just pointing out there are some other options out there depending on what types of videos you’re making. The platform you decide to focus on is important and should take a lot of consideration before making a final decision.
I also feel like this is a great reason for users to have a blog of their own. By having your own personal space you’re in more control of ad placement and the content that is being pushed to users. By relying solely on these social media networks you become virtually a slave to their policies and algorithm.
So perhaps this comes as awful news to you, but don’t be discouraged. At the end of the day great content wins. In the long run it may be a great thing for the troubled monetization system. If anything we’ve learned today, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Multiple streams of revenue is the way to go, this is something that most successful creators know.
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