Google-owned YouTube has announced that new channels will have to work a bit harder for monetization privileges, and current Partner channels will have to maintain high viewership in order to stay profitable. To be specific, channels will now need to have 4,000 total viewing hours in a rolling 12-month period, along with at least 1,000 subscribers. New channels must hit these metrics in order to monetize, and existing channels that meet the old requirement of 10,000 cumulative views will have a 30 day grace period to get in compliance or be dropped. Dropped channels will be paid out any remaining AdSense balance due to them. These new requirements are allegedly made to stem potential harm to the platform by "bad actors", and come in the wake of a prolonged battle against surreal and inappropriate content aimed at children and made to amass views, as well as a recent controversy involving top YouTube star Logan Paul.
The blog post outing the new rules went live earlier today, and the comments section is already above 200 comments, with the mass consensus being that this move has questionable benefit given the challenges currently facing the platform, and will significantly harm smaller channels. Commenters predict a mass increase in smaller channels subscribing to one another in order to help get their sub count up, as well as using paid subscriber services. The viewing hours requirement can also be faked, but would require more than creators would likely get out of it. Larger creators would be largely unaffected, commenters argue, though it's quite feasible that a public outcry that causes a creator's fan base to drop off could end up dipping their viewing hours below the requirement. 4,000 hours in a 12 month period essentially equates to about 340 hours per month. This means that the output of the average large creator, a single 30-minute video per day, would require each video to have at least 12 unique viewers. That does not sound like a hefty feat, but for smaller creators, who may upload once a week or even more seldom, it all but locks them out of the ecosystem. The same can be said of creators who make shorter videos, with the exception of channels like Dorkly, whose short videos are made for chain viewing.
This announcement was spoken of indirectly earlier in the month. An anonymous insider told Bloomberg that the platform would be enacting stricter moderation rules, and increasing the amount of time that humans spend moderating videos. This vetting plan was said to go along with stricter rules around what content can and can't be monetized, and this blanket rule set seems to fit that descriptor.