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Op-ed: New monetization rules bad for small YouTubers

Belmont student Hannah Uebele has been making YouTube videos for the past three years. Because she was successful, she was able to make money on YouTube. But now that YouTube has changed its monetization policies, that ability may be taken away.

This new monetization policy, announced Jan. 16 on the Youtube Creator Blog, replaces the old standard that required creators to have at least 10,000 total views in order to achieve monetization.

Now, YouTubers must have received 1,000 total subscribers and 4,000 hours of view time over the last 12 months in order to make money.

To put it into perspective, our popular Office Concerts video featuring the Belmont rock group Parrotfish has just 4,000 minutes of view time. And that was on Facebook, a platform that on average earns videos a lot more total view time.

For Hannah, a relatively small YouTuber with a sub count of just over 2,400, this qualification for view time means she could stop making money from her videos when the new policy takes effect on Feb. 20.

She needs about 1,000 more hours of view time, and the clock is quickly running down.

She, and other YouTubers like her, have good reason to be peeved. They’ve worked hard to reach the accomplishment of profiting from their videos.

If YouTube doesn’t change its monetization strategy soon, smaller YouTubers like Hannah may become scarce — forced to choose between making videos for fun or for a career.

The ad policy change may not seem like a big deal, especially since most of the creators affected by this change earn very little money to begin with.

In fact, 99 percent of the YouTubers affected by the February policy change made less than $100 in the previous year, according to the YouTube Creator Blog.

However, YouTube is ignoring the fact that, for many YouTubers, reaching monetization is an achievement. Now, it’s as if YouTube waved a steak in their faces only to snatch it out of reach.

YouTubers who aspire to become popular and earn a living off of their videos now face a giant obstacle to making their dreams realities.

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