YouTube cuts ties with burgeoning creators

One of the most interesting aspects of the digital economy the way it encourages innovation by allowing creators to easily make a little money from their works while refining their craft. With one email, YouTube dashed the hopes of smaller creators and gashed their talent pipeline.

The Email

On January 16, 2018, YouTube sent an email to its creators explaining that if your channel has less than 4,000 hours of watch time and 1,000 followers in the last 12 months, they would no longer pay you for your content. Interesting, YouTube, interesting.

This was a huge change from April 2017 when the rules were set that you had to have 10k views to be eligible for YouTube Partner status, a.k.a. to get paid.

Is this your answer to YouTubers who say the pressure to create enough ‘viral’ content stresses them out? Do you think that pressure to increase watch time and thus ads served could have contributed to Logan Paul’s decision to show someone’s misery for shock value and page views?

My YouTube Channel

Occasionally when embarking on a DIY project or seeking out a review on something, I can’t find exactly what I am looking for, so I go forth and make a little video. These are not large productions – just me and my husband showing what we learned to folks on the internet to make their way easier.

But we made these videos. We had time, we spent it on this. I believe I have received exactly one royalty check from my YouTube Channel for $100. It was totally bonus money. Fun money, really, but it was cool that something that I made was helpful enough that I deserved to be paid for it.

Well, my YouTubing isn’t quite as illustrious Logan Paul or his contemporaries. With just 51,000 views over the last four years, my channel won’t make the partner cut. That means I will no longer profit from the videos I created and posted.

The Future of Video Creators

With the new rules, creativity and helpfulness are not valued or rewarded. Instead creators will be cajoled by the possibility of profit to push the envelope further and further to try to get that almighty click. Chasing virality with your kids’ eyeballs along for the ride.

I would encourage YouTube to explore new ways to engage and compensate future creators. It takes a long time to be an overnight success and without the validation and runway that comes from getting paid for your creations, the new video stars can’t rise.

If you choose to only let the successful be rewarded you will discourage innovation and thus you will become obsolete.

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