YouTube has made changes to its YouTube Partner Program (YPP) that it feels will better protect creators. The change in eligibility requirements for the YouTube Partner Program makes it much harder for creators with smaller fan bases to continue making money on YouTube.
In a Creator Blog post, YouTube explains that the changes were being made so they can “prevent bad actors from harming the inspiring and original creators around the world who make their living on YouTube.”
At a glance, this sounds like a reasonable thing to do. We’ve all heard about some “bad actors” who have become notorious after creating videos with despicable content. YouTube also has had problems with videos aimed at kids that included content that was not appropriate for children. Nobody wants those kinds of videos to be on YouTube.
In April of 2017, YouTube set a YouTube Partner Program eligibility requirement of 10,000 lifetime views. As of January 16, 2018, YouTube changed that requirement:
Starting today we’re changing the eligibility requirement for monetization to 4,000 hours of watchtime in the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers. We’ve arrived at these new thresholds after thorough analysis and conversations with creators like you….
…On February 20th, 2017, we’ll also implement this threshold across existing channels on the platform, to allow for a 30 day grace period. On that date, channels with fewer than 1,000 subs or 4,000 watch hours will no longer be able to earn money on YouTube. 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.
New creators, and smaller creators, might not have 1,000 subscribers.They may struggle to get 4,000 hours of watchtime over the past 12 months – and to keep meeting that goal. It would have been better if YouTube could have found a way to get rid of “bad actors” without punishing creators who were following the rules.