YouTube tightens monetisation rules
VOD News | On 17, Jan 2018
YouTube is tightening its criteria for video monetisation, as the site responds to advertiser concerns with manual reviews of top videos.
A week ago, the video giant cut business ties with prominent vlogger Logan Paul, after he posted a video showing a suicide victim, earning revenue from the post. After the video was deleted, Paul posted again to apologise for his original video, and this was also reportedly monetised. YouTube later announced that he had been removed from its Google Preferred scheme, YouTube’s top-tier earning platform, and that the video was against the site’s terms and conditions.
Now, YouTube is adding in new restrictions for those who can monetise videos, as well as join Google Preferred. YouTube will now only allow creators to join the YouTube Partner Program, which earns money from adverts, if they have racked up 4,000 hours of watch-time in the last 12 months, and 1,000 subscribers. That’s a significant hike from the previous threshold of 10,000 views, which didn’t provide enough of a barrier to weed out spammers or other bogus creators.
YouTube will also manually review all videos in its Google Preferred scheme (comprising the 5 per cent of most-viewed channels), which it hopes will reassure advertisers that their messages won’t be displayed within disturbing, offensive or inappropriate videos. A three-rung measure of suitability will also allow advertisers to select their level of comfort with content to advertise alongside.
YouTube said that the moves are not a direct response to Logan Paul’s video, but the controversial video highlighted the holes in the video giant’s system, as it tries to straddle the boundary between social network and media company – a balancing act that court advertisers without fully regulating the content on its site or take responsiblity for it.
“These higher standards will also help us prevent potentially inappropriate videos from monetizing which can hurt revenue for everyone,” chief product officer Neal Mohan and chief business officer Robert Kyncl said on Tuesday.
By tightening up its criteria, YouTube is also making the amount of content it has to manually review smaller, hoping to reduce the risk of other single videos affecting its reputation. The result will be a blow to smaller creators, as they have to wait until they get to a certain size to make any revenue, but will also help YouTube to retain advertisers, after a year in which companies boycotted the site over terrorist videos and other inappropriate content. Variety, however, notes that YouTube still saw the number of channels earning more than $100,000 annually rise 40 per cent year-on-year in 2017.
YouTube’s new Partner Program requirements will come into force retroactively from 20th February, which means any channels with fewer than 4,000 hours of watch-time in the last 12 months and fewer than 1,000 subscribers will no longer be able to run adverts. According to YouTube, 99 per cent of existing creators affected by the changes make less than $100 per year.
YouTube cuts ties with Logan Paul
11th January 2018
YouTube has cut its close ties with vlogger Logan Paul, after he uploaded a video that featured a suicide victim. The video saw Paul and his friends at Japan’s Aokigahara forest at the base of Mount Fuji, where they came across the body of a man who had committed suicide and continued to film and also make jokes.
The video was later deleted by Paul, after a major backlash criticising the vlogger for his insensitive treatment of mental health issues and poor taste, as well as his monetisation of the video. He then released another video apologising and announcing his plans to suspend vlogging temporarily and take time to reflect. This video was also monetised.
The vlog raises questions about YouTube’s regulation and policing of content, or lack thereof, with the video appearing in YouTube’s trending section on its homepage. The site released am initial statement confirming that Paul’s video violated its policies.
“Our hearts go out to the family of the person featured in the video,” the video giant said. “YouTube prohibits violent or gory content posted in a shocking, sensational or disrespectful manner. If a video is graphic, it can only remain on the site when supported by appropriate educational or documentary information, and in some cases it will be age-gated. We partner with safety groups such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to provide educational resources that are incorporated in our YouTube Safety Center.”
YouTube also issued Paul’s channel, which has 15 million subscribers, with a strike – if three of those are received within a three-month period, YouTube will terminate the offending account.
YouTube, though, faced criticism over not doing enough, with Paul remaining a part of YouTube’s top tier earners and part of its content for the subscription service YouTube Red.
It has now taken further steps to cut any close ties with Paul, removing him from the Google Preferred scheme, which gives brands the ability to sell adverts on the top 5 per cent of creators’ videos. He can still monetise his videos, but will receive a lower income rate than previously.
He has also been cut from Season 4 of YouTube Red comedy series Foursome. The Thnning: New World Order, a sequel to the YouTube Red sci-fi thriller, The Thinning, which featured Paul, has also been put on hold.
YouTube has also issued a lengthy statement saying that YouTube is “upset” by the video and reiterating that “suicide is not a joke, nor should it ever be a driving force for views”.
“Many of you have been frustrated with our lack of communication recently,” the statement read. “You’re right to be. You deserve to know what’s going on. Like many others, we were upset by the video that was shared last week. Suicide is not a joke, nor should it ever be a driving force for views. As Anna Akana put it perfectly: “That body was a person someone loved. You do not walk into a suicide forest with a camera and claim mental health awareness.” We expect more of the creators who build their community on @YouTube, as we’re sure you do too. The channel violated our community guidelines, we acted accordingly, and we are looking at further consequences. It’s taken us a long time to respond, but we’ve been listening to everything you’ve been saying. We know that the actions of one creator can affect the entire community, so we’ll have more to share soon on steps we’re taking to ensure a video like this is never circulated again.”