YouTube tightens rules around what channels can be monetized

YouTube is stiffening the rules around its partner program and raising 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 from February 20th, meaning that channels which 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 without doubt make it harder for new, smaller channels to reach monetization, but YouTube says it’s an important way of buying more time to see who’s following the company’s guidelines and disqualify “bad actors.”

In a blog post, the company announced:

“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).”

Although 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 who published a video that showed a dead body in Japan’s Aokigahara forest. Last week, YouTube kicked Paul off its Google Preferred program and placed his YouTube Red original programming efforts on hold.

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

Distinctly, YouTube plans to increase the quantity of human vetting for videos featured as part of Google Preferred. Advertisers who participate in Google Preferred won’t need to worry about something like the Logan Paul controversy, as their ads will only run beside 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.

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