Does Google only want big popular channels on Youtube and not small niche ones?
Up until recently if you had uploaded one or more videos to Youtube you could – if you wanted to – participate in the Youtube Partner program as long as your videos met a few terms and conditions guidelines. This allowed you to earn some money from having ads shown before and during your videos meaning you could get some profit from uploading and sharing your videos.
Recent bad press had caused some advertisers pulling their adverts from Youtube over them being shown with inappropriate content. This lead to Youtube introducing a step last year where they would screen all uploaded videos and any that their automated system had issues with would be marked as ‘Not suitable for most advertisers ‘ and you wouldn’t get revenue from them.
I am assuming this automated screening did identify a lot of inappropriate content, but it also resulted in a lot of false positives. Just one example being that if you use the word free in your tags or description it would marks the video as not suitable for most advertisers. This obviously caused a lot of problems for genuine videos who were trying to promote something that they offer for free who previously got revenue from people watching their video with ads enabled.
Youtube did allow you to appeal if your video was marked as not suitable for ads but only after it had received 1000 views. There was no guarantee of it being approved after a review either as videos with swearing, violence, sex, nudity were all still banned from advertising. And this included virtual violence so a lot of gamers were annoyed as their videos suddenly they could not moneytize.
Small channels were already loosing revenue from these previous change but the final nail in the coffin for a lot of these niche channels was announced last month. Google messaged thousands of account owners and said that unless your channel had 1000 subscribers and over 4000 hours of views in the last 12 months they would not be able to take part in the Youtube partner program and show ads on their videos.
Google maintains that this is a low threshold to achieve, but for some small or niche channels this is quite a mountain to climb. 4000 hours of views over 12 months comes in at almost 11 hours of views every day. If your channel only has short videos of 2 or 3 minute each that is a few hundred views every day to reach that amount of view time.
From the feedback i have seen many channels could achieve the number of viewing hours but were struggling with the requirements to have 1000 subscribers. Many pointed out that their channel had one or two popular videos that would get a lot of views but not necessarily mean that viewers of that video would subscribe to the channel.
From today if your channel was part of the Youtube program but you had not achieved the number of subscribers and viewing hours you won’t be able to have any videos with ads until you reach those numbers. If you do want to re-enable ads on your channel you will have to keep working, uploading new videos and promoting your existing videos without getting any revenue back. This of course will put off a lot of people who will just abandon their channel.
Even if you are able to achieve the number of views and subscribers need you have to apply to be manually reviewed for being re-included in the Youtube partner program. Of course on a manual review Google could find another issue with your channel content and decide that it doesn’t fit with whatever other guidelines they introduce to keep the advertisers happy.
Of course there are other video upload platforms that people can use but none of them can reach as many viewers as Youtube does.