YouTube changes monetization policy in bid to appease frustrated creators

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Brief:

  • YouTube, Google’s video-sharing platform whose users now view 100 million hours of content per day, changed its policy that determines whether a video is fully monetized with advertising or is somehow restricted, MediaPost reported. The change is estimated to result in 30% fewer videos being misclassified as not eligible for monetization, according to a blog post.

  • YouTube used more than 1 million human reviews of videos to train a machine-learning algorithm that determines how the company groups uploaded videos. The company urged content creators to continue appealing if they believe their videos are still misclassified as having content inappropriate for advertisers.

  • In August, YouTube said it would introduce a way for content providers to appeal when their videos were classified as not suitable for advertising. It also unveiled icons to help give content providers a more detailed understanding of how videos were being monetized.

Insight:

YouTube appears to be growing more responsive to the needs of the creators who produce the bulk of the content shared on its platform, especially as social media providers like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat make a more concentrated push into video. Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, has additionally appeared to court some frustrated YouTube talent, particularly in popular categories like gaming, where creators have been hit hard on Google’s platform.

Last week, Twitch unveiled a suite of new tools to help creators using its streaming service to build out their audiences and make more money, which potentially put pressure on YouTube to tweak its ad policies. Some of YouTube’s biggest influencers, including Casey Neistat, have also recently vented their frustrations with demonetization, drawing millions of video views and user support. 

YouTube should worry about Facebook’s push into video as well. While YouTube has had first-mover advantage in distributing user-generated videos online, Facebook has an audience of at least 2 billion people, making it incredibly appealing for publishers and brands. Facebook lets users easily share third-party content with their friends while avoiding the extra steps of posting links to an outside service like YouTube. New services like a premium video tab called Watch aim to put a direct dent in YouTube’s ad dollars. Amazon is also reported to be offering merchants the type of how-to videos and product demos that are incredibly popular on YouTube and serve as a lucrative channel for marketers to link up with social media influencers.   

The larger takeaway is that YouTube no longer adds distinct value to content creation process the way it used to. In fact, it might actually be stymieing some of the freedom it was initially cherished for in order to better appease brands that have grown wary of the service over revelations earlier this year that their ads were appearing next to extremist content — a controversy that sparked a widespread advertiser boycott and eventually the policy changes that have resulted in creators’ frustrations.

YouTube was groundbreaking in helping people who had different kinds of cameras and camcorders to easily post video online, which used to be an onerous process that plagued with technical hurdles. Those technical hurdles are handily overcome today, so any content creator can post to Facebook or other platforms just as easily.



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