Youtube has been an internet staple for the past decade, with millions upon millions of users viewing and uploading content every day. The website has allowed for the creation of a steady income stream for some “you-tubers” via the use of brand sponsorship and advertising. However, the day of reckoning has come for those “up-and-coming” you-tubers, with the site placing new parameters on which channels are able to be monetised.
As of the 20th of February, You-tubers must accrue “at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time in the last 12 months” to gain the right to be monetised. This rule comes as far “harsher” criteria, compares to the 10,000 total channel views that were needed before.
The changes come weeks after the infamous Logan Paul incident, whereby a video depicting a man who had committed suicide was viewed by 36 million on his channel. Despite causing major distress to viewers and severely affecting the Youtube brand – it is estimated that Paul still made a hefty $90000 from video sponsoring and advertising. Thus youtube believes that by demontesing smaller channels it is able to better “protect the community” by “curb(ing) bad actors” and “stabiliz(ing) creator revenue”.
Furthermore, Youtube also believes that it is able to protect the brand image of sponsors and advertisers – as some advertising may be chosen randomly across the various channels on the network. Thus by inhibiting smaller YouTubers that may produce un-monitored content that could be distressing or damaging, the company believes it is able to ensure advertisers keep favourable brand image intact.
Many lesser-known YouTubers are struggling to come to terms with the new rules put into place. Christine Barger, a YouTuber who creates “niche videos about escape rooms”, posted a blog last month in which she was visibly upset by the new rulings. “ It’s not about the money. It’s about the fact that I’ve been a part of YouTube for a really long time” she quotes. Many people also share her feelings of isolation, with the hashtag #DemonetizationDay being campaigned on twitter.
It leads one to question how an individual creates a full-time career out of youtube. If there is an obligation to accumulate at least 1000 subscribers to a channel, it may take months or years to be able to receive an income – making it impossible to create a sustainable living off just youtube alone. If there is a need to create a secondary source of income, it may leave creators at risk of being unable to creating meaningful and valuable content as there is not enough time to commit to it.
Thus I leave you to question whether it is just for youtube to enforce these new rules? Does the possibility of tarnishing a brand image take precedence over what could possibly be some fantastic content?
– Ellen Balsom