By Gopa Kumar
YouTube has announced some major changes to its video monetisation policy, which allows the company to run ads on all video content from this month. However, it will only pay creators who have qualified for the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). And this has created much dissonance with creators at large.
Before going into its advantages and disadvantages for advertisers/ brands and, more importantly, creators and, of course, the users at large, here’s a background on YPP. The program enables content creators who have at least 1,000 subscribers to monetise their videos and share the revenue that YouTube earns from advertisers. It’s a partnership between YouTube and creators to create content and provide a platform for its content to get more users engaged on YouTube and, thereby, earn money from advertising.
What has changed
The change is, before this update YouTube used to place ads only on creator platforms that were part of YPP with a certain number of subscribers and views. Now, YouTube can place ads on any content of its choice. However, creators who are not a part of YPP will not earn revenues from the ads curated by YouTube on their videos. Also, since inventory has opened up, there are chances that advertising cost on these may come down or become cheaper.
So, a positive fallout of these revised terms would be flexibility for advertisers to choose the creators on whose content they would like to place an ad. Initially, brands would have to rely only on creators who were part of YPP. This gives brands much-needed diverse content to decide where their ads should appear. This will enable micro-level targeting and reach niche genres of creators or content.
The disadvantage of this move for brands and advertisers is that since the ads will run across various content, the chances of ads running anywhere and not being brand-safe are high. Brands will be at risk when they run ads on the newer channels, or present on content created by smaller creators that are not in line with their overall brand ethos in terms of sensibility and relevance.
The discontent among creators is apparent — and obvious — because creators who qualify for YPP after acquiring a certain reach and views receive a share of the revenue generated through the ads placed on their videos. These new policies will create chaos as much smaller content creators will have ads running on their content as well, hence, severely impacting the revenue generation for bigger players as YouTube may prefer to run the ad inventories on non-partner videos and save on its revenue share.
YouTube is trying to monetise content, big or small, and also take advantage of its unmatched reach. Will the creators move out? I don’t think so; primarily because of the audience YouTube provides. Any drastic move will only happen if the earnings of creators go down significantly. Any competing platform would also like to observe the reactions of creators, and then amend their policies if required.
It is imperative for all creators to understand how the new guidelines will impact them and what changes they need to make in future. All said and done, creators are an integral part of the ecosystem and the opportunities to reach a newer set of audiences through YouTube are immense. There is enough headroom for growth and monetisation. For advertisers, it’s a good opportunity to go micro and sharpen their targeting, while making sure all of this plays out in a brand-safe environment.
The author is COO, Isobar India