YouTube is tightening its rules on who can make money from adverts to prevent the platform being “co-opted by bad actors”.
Previously, channels with 10,000 total views qualified for the YouTube Partner Program which allows creators to collect some income from the adverts placed before their videos.
But YouTube’s parent company Google has just announced that from February 20, channels will need 1,000 subscribers and to have racked up 4,000 hours of watch time over the last 12 months regardless of total views, to qualify.
This comes just weeks after YouTuber Logan Paul’s video showing the body of a suicide victim reached the site’s trending page before being removed.
We're passionate @YouTube about protecting our users, advertisers, & creators, so are making some changes to help prevent bad actors from abusing the platform. Read about changes relevant to advertisers: https://t.co/ug759ryQbJ & creators: https://t.co/1gxr2OD3AI— Susan Wojcicki (@SusanWojcicki) January 16, 2018
YouTube’s new threshold means a creator making a weekly ten-minute video would need 1,000 subscribers and an average of 462 views per video to start receiving ad revenue.
The Government, Marks & Spencer and the BBC were amongst several advertisers that pulled ads from the platform last year after it was revealed their messages were appearing alongside extremist content.
YouTuber Felix Kjellberg, known as PewDiePie to his 59 million subscribers, seemed to agree with the new rules.
“THIS is YouTube’s response to the Logan Paul thing,” he said.
“It shouldn’t be an issue to not to monetise before you hit these numbers.”
He added that he did not earn ad revenue from the site until he had reached 25,000 subscribers.
“As much as I typically hate [YouTube’s] business practice, this one makes sense to me.”
He is no stranger to YouTube controversy, having had his own premium advertising links cut by Google last year after allegations of antisemitism in his videos.
But several responses to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki’s announcement accused her of “punishing small creators” who are unlikely to reach the new thresholds.
One YouTuber, Beanie Draws, who has 13,000 subscribers, told her: “Punishing small creators even further while [sic] this action won’t stop people like Logan Paul.”
“Delete his channel completely if you’re serious.”
Knew it! Punishing small creators even further while this action won’t stop people like Logan Paul. Delete his channel completely if you’re serious. pic.twitter.com/aeiqY23ezq— Beanie Draws ✏️🦖🦕 (@BeanieDraws) January 16, 2018
YouTube will also change Google Preferred – its programme for advertisers allowing them to place ads on the site’s most popular clips.
The videos on this list will now be “manually reviewed” to protect advertisers from unwittingly putting their ads on popular, but problematic videos.
They are also introducing a “three-tier suitability system” for brands to decide what kind of videos they want their ads to run on.
Twenty-two-year-old Logan Paul garnered millions of views on his video filmed in the Aokigahara Forest, a well-known site for suicides, in Japan.
His vlogging channel has around 15 million subscribers, and the videos on there have been viewed more than three billion times since its creation in 2015.