YouTube tightens rules around what channels can be monetized

YouTube is tightening the rules around its partner program and raising the requirements that a channel/creator must meet in order to monetize videos. Effective immediately, to apply for monetization (and have ads attached to videos), creators must have tallied 4,000 hours of overall watch time on their channel within the past 12 months and have at least 1,000 subscribers. YouTube will enforce the new eligibility policy for all existing channels as of February 20th, meaning that channels that fail to meet the threshold will no longer be able to make income from ads.

Previously, the standard for joining YouTube’s Partner Program was 10,000 public views — without any specific requirement for annual viewing hours. This change will no doubt make it harder for new, smaller channels to reach monetization, but YouTube says it’s an important way of buying itself more time to see who’s following the company’s guidelines and disqualify “bad actors.”

“We’ve arrived at these new thresholds after thorough analysis and conversations with creators like you,” the company announced in a blog post. “They will allow us to significantly improve our ability to identify creators who contribute positively to the community and help drive more ad revenue to them (and away from bad actors).” Though it doesn’t mention him by name, YouTube seems to reference the recent, high-profile Logan Paul incident by saying “These higher standards will also help us prevent potentially inappropriate videos from monetizing which can hurt revenue for everyone.”

The new, stricter policy comes after Logan Paul, one of YouTube’s star creators and influencers, published a video that showed a dead body in Japan’s Aokigahara forest. Last week, YouTube kicked Paul off its Google Preferred ad program and placed his YouTube Red original programming efforts on hold.

But this is not a new problem, and advertisers have for years complained about unexpectedly appearing alongside inappropriate videos on YouTube’s platform. The company has repeatedly promised changes to rectify the issue and has already implemented some. This new, more rigorous monetization structure can be seen as one of the more aggressive steps it has taken so far. Late last year, the company found itself dealing with a series of bizarre, sometimes disturbing videos that were targeted at children.

Separately, YouTube plans to increase the amount of human vetting for videos that are featured as part of Google Preferred. Moving forward, advertisers who participate in Google Preferred won’t need to worry about something like the Logan Paul controversy, as their ads will only run alongside videos that have been verified as compliant with guidelines by an actual person. Google Preferred is pitched to brands as the best way to put their ads in front of some of YouTube’s most popular and brand-safe content in key demographics.


I’m confused in what way does this help to prevent Logan Pauls or Logan Paul type incidents? He’s the exact kind of creator that won’t see any change from enacting this policy. It’ll only make it easier for those capable of committing full-time because they currently get a fair amount of revenue from YouTube to stay entrenched and at the top while newcomers have a higher barrier to entry. Why not just focus on making clearer cut rules for a review process that demonetizes or bans certain creators in instances of more extreme cases?

Also what creators did they poll for feedback? I’m guessing huge money makers for YouTube that don’t speak for the interests of a majority of small-time creators.

This doesn’t affect Logan, at all. But by creating a higher bar for entry you create a dramatically smaller pool of creators who can be monetized. This allows you to police content that is earning ad revenue more easily while also keeping "bad actors" (I hate that buzzword) from gaming the system (i.e. reposting others content/creating misleading videos that generate tons of views but don’t get them subscribers).

Having this smaller pool of people to sift through who are directly involved with making YouTube money gives them a better handle on who/what may be a detriment/benefit to their community & bottom line. It’s simply easier for them to police & if a person can gain at least 1,000 authentic subscribers & a collection of videos that have garnered 4,000 hours of watch time they are likely creating content that is legitimate & then YouTube can manually review what they create to see if it should be allowed within their partner program based on if it follows their community guidelines.

Generating 4,000 hours of watch time & 1,000 subs comes across as difficult & it can be, but a couple of videos that go semi-viral or reach a large enough audience, along with consistent content & a personality creating the content that people want to see more of will have a good creator reach that mark in little time.

But yea this doesn’t affect Logan directly in ANY way.

I’m bummed that it will boot out many smaller creators, but I was tired of seeing people steal videos and get more views than the original just for some ad revenue.

I think the bar is too high though.

I mean, in reality, this isn’t going to stop that. It says that they have to have more than 4000 hours viewed, which is easily obtainable with minimum mooch effort. Until more human vetting is a thing, lower scum channels will still mooch off the success of the larger ones, continuing to skirt the "rules" just slightly.

It says that they have to have more than 4000 hours viewed, which is easily obtainable with minimum mooch effort.

and have at least 1,000 subscribers. Not one or the other. The subscriber part will be much more difficult.

It’s truly not if you have content people see value in and/or a personality people are drawn to.

I think he meant harder to get if you are stealing other peoples videos and re-uploading them. I could be wrong tho.

Oh, oops. Misread the context.

I disagree. You underestimate how stupid some people are. I can’t tell you how many of those vine compilation channels (which literally just stole popular vines) have over 2-4000 subscribers with thousands of views.

But it’s unlikely to rack up 4000h of viewing time unless each of those subscribers watch at least an hour of vines. This seems unlikely.

I think the new rules are pretty good, for exactly the example you cited. Short, cheap, low quality channels are going to have a harder time of it. Longform, quality material is encouraged.

In one year? And for sure more people view the content without being subscribers. 4000hr the last year on all channel is really not so difficult.

Vines are just one aspect, that’s not counting all the people that ripoff like let’s say, Jake/Logan Paul’s videos upload it as their own, and get millions of views and tons of subscribers because again, people are stupid/lazy. This is not going to stop people from making low-effort or system gaming content which was my original point.

youtube won’t push videos that aren’t monetized so actually it’s more difficult now to gain new subs since you won’t appear on many feeds without advertising your channel.

YouTube claims they don’t discriminate against monetized/not-monetized content it’s all about engagement & watch time but who knows. Casey Neistat for example, for a long time, never placed ads against his content but still blew up as a creator before he decided to do so.

The small ones can use platforms like Wildspark to monetise their videos. Soon they’ll be able to do it for blogs, music and many more.

How much money in ad revenue is 4 000h of watch time anyway? That’d be 12 000 views total for 20 minutes video, right? I don’t know, I’ve read people saying it’s a surprisingly small amount.

The one getting royally screwed are the animators though, with how much time they need and how short their videos are.

I think it’d be about $100 from 120,000 views of a 2-minute video. Somewhere around there. Even if I’m an order off, its a pretty tiny amount of money.

I have just over 4,000 hours of watch time with a little over 800 subscribers (don’t ask me why), but I get about $100 every 10-12 months. It is fun money when it comes through.

But does it really create a small pool? LIke you said, all it takes is a few viral videos and bam you’re in. If anything, this just seems to be a temporary measure to appease the suits behind the scenes. The career youtube kids who want it bad enough will get 1000/4000 numbers needed.

I think the thing is, unless you are going shock value, or already well funded, it pretty hard to make a few "viral" videos. and "viral" does not mean subscribes, it just means views. From what i see from those i do subscribe to, most are slowly but steadily building subscribers and a following, closer knit subscriber base. This action seems to be more prone to bringing in Logan Paul types that will do anything to get their views, not the kind of people most want to see on Youtube.

This is going to hurt the niche types hard. Someone like logan paul wouldn’t be affected at all from what i can see, most of videos were fine apparently, will they have someone watch every single one of his videos as they’re uploaded before they can be monetized?
This strikes me as an illogical step to take

This strikes me as an illogical step to take

Of course it’s illogical. See my post below. Google has a revenue sharing program. This program pays a lot of money to a lot of people. Google is now increasing its bottom line by making it harder for people to join that program. Why? Because the less people that are able to pay, the more money it gets to keep.

Of course, Google is trying to play this maneuver off as, "Oh, we’re doing this to ensure that there’s less objectionable content," but it’s not that. It’s now limiting the cash flow of money from YouTube’s Partner Program.

Google is now increasing its bottom line by making it harder for people to join that program.


You have a poor understand of how YouTube makes money through ads. YouTube isn’t keeping more money because there are less partners, that’s nonsense. An advertiser pays YouTube to have their ad placed next videos for (let’s say) $10,000. Of that $10,000 YouTube keeps 55% which is $5,500 REGARDLESS of how many creators are allowed to monetize. That $4,500 then gets shared amongst the creators that had that ad placed on their content. YouTube didn’t make any more or less then they would have if there were more creators able to monetize IN FACT it’s the creators that stand to potentially make more money because there is less competition from channels that have under 1,000 subs & 4,000 hours of watch time.

In the end if YouTube is able to weed out nefarious content they will be potentially opening themselves up to more advertisers being willing to spend more money on their platform. This is not equivalent to YouTube "keeping more money" because, as I said, how they split that money doesn’t change. This will be beneficial not ONLY to YouTube but every creator who now has the potential to make more money. YouTube creators, believe it or not, used to make even more money then they do now (when their CPM’s were higher & competition wasn’t as rampant & overcrowded), it’s when YouTube lowered the bar for entry into their program that creators started to see smaller checks. By creating a higher bar of entry they are making a pool that is easier to monitor & make sure are following their guidelines & are also potentially making creators more money in the process.

But isn’t that 55% only on Partner videos? There will now be less partner content (which still have pre-roll ads btw) where Google gets 100% of the ad sale.

You can choose to have no Ads displayed against your content. It’s still an option for any level creator.

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