YouTube has changed their partnership program requirements leaving a lot of small YouTubers out in the cold
January 17th was the day that a lot small YouTubers got a message from YouTube stating that the partnership program that allows creators to make money off of ads played on their videos would be changing. Normally it wouldn’t be that big of a deal for creators already in the program, but YouTube stated that the requirements would be retroactive.
The new requirements are that channels have 1000 subscribers minimum and at least 4000 watch hours in 1 year. While that’s hardly a feat for an established YouTuber, smaller channels that have been scraping buy with $100 revenue a month will no longer see that paycheck starting in February.
And that’s really a shame, but as a YouTube creator that didn’t meet the criteria of the Partnership Program when I first started, it’s not as bad as people are making it out to be.
What happens to YouTubers who are being removed from the program?
YouTubers who were initially in the program that no longer meet the current criteria won’t see too big of a change. They will still be able to keep their current URL, they’ll still be able to put end cards at the end of their video and they’ll still be able to schedule videos. They just won’t receive a paycheck.
For channels that started after the first change last year (10K lifetime views to be considered a partner) this is business as usual. Nothing will change. I started my channel last March, I have 169 subscribers and about 30 hours of watch time spread across 50 videos. I will still see no money, but I will have access to the features that I mentioned above.
Why is YouTube hurting small YouTubers?
The short answer is money. The long answer is a bit more complicated. Muddled in the hysteria of small YouTube creators and lack of communication from YouTube, is a reason that makes more sense than “Logan Paul is the reason for this change”
Logan Paul is not the reason for this change. Logan Paul is not a small YouTuber. YouTube simply cannot guarantee that advertisers can place their ads in front of eyes of people that will actually engage in the ad.
Adjusting the YouTube partnership to focus more on engagement rather than clicks can assure advertisers that their product isn’t going to be featured. The side effect of this means that YouTubers who have been partners for years will no longer be partners and will cease to make money. Whether or not these YouTubers continue to make content despite not making money is something that remains to be seen.
What can small YouTubers do now that they are no longer Partners?
Small YouTubers who used to be partners and will not meet the threshold in the 30 days will be removed from the partnership program. This can be discouraging, however, creators can still make revenue on other platforms like Patreon and Twitch if they choose to stream. Super Chat on YouTube live is restricted to partners, so making money on YouTube live might not be viable.
If no one is paying you to make content, you can continue to do it for free as a hobby or you can quit. It doesn’t seem like YouTube is giving any more options at this time.
While established YouTubers who have been critical of YouTube’s policies in the past like Philip DeFranco, Jim Sterling, and Boogie2988 have expressed sympathy for small Youtubers, they did offer some sage advice:
Don’t fall for sub for sub groups. While 1000 subscribers is necessary for the partnership program, that’s only half the battle. People subbing to your channel must also watch your content and engage in that content. If you have people subbing and not watching, it will be even more discouraging than it is now. A channel with 1000 subs but only 30 views per video doesn’t look appetizing to potential subscribers and really won’t look good to potential advertisers.
Established YouTubers also recommend branching out. Boogie2988 gave the best advice and that’s treat YouTube as another social media platform instead of an income source.
While the hammer is falling on Small YouTubers this time, larger YouTubers have been affected by unreliable demonitiztion protocols that result in one or more videos losing revenue entirely based on a machine determining if your content is suitable for advertisers. This stings hard on YouTubers like ProZD who consistently produces millions of views, but monetization returns after content is falling from the trending slot and losing views.
Is this the end of YouTube as we know it?
If you think this is the end of YouTube because of how they treat creators, you haven’t been paying attention. Large corporations and media companies have dominated YouTube for quite some time. Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, SNL, and other late night personalities use YouTube to reach casual audiences and place their own agreed upon ads on their content regardless of YouTube’s content polices of that particular date and time.
I started my YouTube channel with the expectation that I wouldn’t see any revenue for at least 3 years if at all. Super Nicktendo will always be a hobby for me and the second it stops being fun is the second I stop doing it and move on to another hobby.