Next month, YouTube is going to end the ability to monetize smaller YouTube channels via their YouTube Partner Program.
What constitutes a “smaller” channel? Any channel that has under 1,000 subscribers and under 4,000 hours (or 240,000 minutes) of accumulated watchtime in the past 12 months.
That’s a minimum of 20,000 minutes of watchtime per month, if you’re having difficulty mathing it out.
This latest restriction is allegedly in response to the streaming giant trying to appease advertisers who’ve taken them to task for being too lax about policing their content.
Here’s an excerpt from YouTube’s blog post on the subject…
2017 marked a tough year for many of you, with several issues affecting our community and the revenue earned from advertising through the YouTube Partner Program (YPP).
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.
Back in April of 2017, we set a YPP eligibility requirement of 10,000 lifetime views. While that threshold provided more information to determine whether a channel followed our community guidelines and policies, it’s been clear over the last few months that we need a higher standard.
Starting today we’re changing the eligibility requirement for monetization to 4,000 hours of watchtime within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers. We’ve arrived at these new thresholds after thorough analysis and conversations with creators like you.
On February 20th, 2018, we’ll also implement this threshold across existing channels on the platform, to allow for a 30 day grace period. On that date, channels with fewer than 1,000 subs or 4,000 watch hours will no longer be able to earn money on YouTube. When they reach 1,000 subs and 4,000 watch hours they will be automatically re-evaluated under strict criteria to ensure they comply with our policies. New channels will need to apply, and their application will be evaluated when they hit these milestones.
Of course, size alone is not enough to determine whether a channel is suitable for monetization, so we’ll continue to use signals like community strikes, spam, and other abuse flags to ensure we’re protecting our creator community from bad actors.
While this change will tackle the potential abuse of a large but disparate group of smaller channels, we also know that the bad action of a single, large channel can also have an impact on the community and how advertisers view YouTube. We’ll be working to schedule conversations with our creators in the months ahead so we can hear your thoughts and ideas and what more we can do to tackle that challenge.
Clearly, the “larger creators” who will be taken to the proverbial woodshed include controversial figures like PewDiePie (who was accused of making racist comments) and Logan Paul (whose recent antics in Japan included filming a dead body and posting on his channel.)
The announcement comes after last year’s “Adpocalypse,” in which many YouTube channels suddenly lost the ability to monetize based on vague community standards guidelines which deemed many videos “not advertiser friendly” if they were even remotely controversial.
While YouTube claims that they see a 40% increase year-over-year in creators making over six figures, it’s clearly going to be harder for newcomers to crack the platform going forward.