YouTube introduces new criteria for creator monetization, Google Preferred structure - Polygon

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‘We’re changing the eligibility requirement for monetization’
YouTube is making big changes to its monetization platform for creators and advertisers that will introduce new criteria in an attempt to better the community.
YouTube is implementing major changes to three areas: YouTube’s Partner Program, Google Preferred and then a general transparency effort with both brands and creators over how people are paid. The biggest change that will be noticed by top creators affects Google Preferred, Google’s top-tier advertisement group for a select group of creators. The group was originally created as a way to offer brands, “access to among the top 5% of content on YouTube, reach the highly coveted 18- to 34-year-old audience, and receive the measurement results they need to maximize the impact of their campaigns.”
All Google Preferred-eligible creators will now be subject to an increased vetting process from YouTube. Every video submitted for Google Preferred ads must be watched by a moderator and manually approved as family-friendly content. This extra layer of human moderation will catch videos that shouldn’t be eligible for Google Preferred ads, but somehow slipped through YouTube’s filter.
“We expect to complete manual reviews of Google Preferred channels and videos by mid-February in the U.S. and by the end of March in all other markets where Google Preferred is offered,” Paul Muret, YouTube’s vice president for display, video and analytics, wrote in a blog post.
There are other changes that may affect other YouTubers, not just those who are eligible for Google Preferred’s top-tier ads.
YouTube is changing the threshold for creators who qualify for the company’s Partners Program. Instead of needing a total of 10,000 total channel views, YouTube is now also looking at the number of hours accrued on channels that have at least 1,000 subscribers. Neal Mohan, YouTube’s chief product officer, and Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s chief business officer, wrote in a blog published today:
Starting today we’re changing the eligibility requirement for monetization to 4,000 hours of watchtime within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers. We’ve arrived at these new thresholds after thorough analysis and conversations with creators like you. 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). These higher standards will also help us prevent potentially inappropriate videos from monetizing which can hurt revenue for everyone.
Mohan and Kyncl said while the change is expected to “tackle the potential abuse of a large but disparate group of smaller channels” the company is aware of much of an impact the “bad action of a single, large channel can also have on the community “and how advertisers view YouTube.”
Although Mohan and Kyncl don’t specify certain creators, YouTube’s announcement comes just a couple of weeks after influencer Logan Paul uploaded a video that featured the body of a man who appeared to have recently committed suicide. Paul’s actions drew widespread condemnation for both himself and YouTube. In response, YouTube announced on Jan. 10 that Paul would be removed from Google Preferred and all of his YouTube Red projects were put on hold indefinitely.
YouTube suffered similar negative attention in February 2017, when Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg posted a video that included anti-Semitic imagery. Like Paul, Kjellberg was removed from Google Preferred and lost the second season of his YouTube Red series, Scare PewDiePie.
Mohan and Kyncl said they are going to “schedule conversations with our creators in the months ahead so we can hear your thoughts and ideas and what more we can do to tackle that challenge.”
New and existing creators will have to meet these specific standards. Mohan and Kyncl said that on Feb. 20, a 30-day grace period will be given to existing channels. Afterward, “channels with fewer than 1,000 subs or 4,000 watch hours will no longer be able to earn money on YouTube.” Mohan and Kyncl said, adding:
When they reach 1,000 subs and 4,000 watch hours they will be automatically re-evaluated under strict criteria to ensure they comply with our policies. New channels will need to apply, and their application will be evaluated when they hit these milestones.
Though these changes will affect a significant number of channels, 99% of those affected were making less than $100 per year in the last year, with 90% earning less than $2.50 in the last month. Any of the channels who no longer meet this threshold will be paid what they’ve already earned based on our AdSense policies. After thoughtful consideration, we believe these are necessary compromises to protect our community.
The last change YouTube is implementing in the coming months is transparency for both advertisers and creators, introducing a “ three-tier suitability system that allows advertisers to reflect their view of appropriate placements for their brand.” In an effort to make advertisers even more confident in YouTube, the company is working with third-party safety vendors to ensure that advertisers are protected.
YouTube’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki, first alluded to these changes on Dec. 4, 2017 in a series of blog posts. YouTube was fighting back a series of disturbing videos targeted at children, and looking into how to protect both creators and advertisers by applying a stricter criteria. Wojcicki wrote:
We are planning to apply stricter criteria, conduct more manual curation, while also significantly ramping up our team of ad reviewers to ensure ads are only running where they should. This will also help vetted creators see more stability around their revenue. It’s important we get this right for both advertisers and creators, and over the next few weeks, we’ll be speaking with both to hone this approach.
These changes will go into effect beginning today and continuing into the coming months. YouTube is planning to speak to creators and advertisers through these changes and try to keep an open dialogue going.
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