State of Video in 2018: Is this the END of Youtube?
You may find it hard to ever conceive the idea that Youtube’s dominance may come to an end. However time and time again Youtube does something to anger its community. In 2017 we witnessed the first major shift regarding what channels could be considered for YPP [Youtube’s Partnership Program]. The platform stipulated that channels must receive 10,000-lifetime views on their channel before they could apply.
All of this, of course, was in response to some major advertisers ditching the platform. The advertisers didn’t like to be seen endorsing certain types of videos. Pirated content, fake channels, controversial subjects etc. Youtube said at the time,
“Together these new thresholds will help ensure revenue only flows to creators who are playing by the rules.”
Fast forward 10 months and Youtube have changed their tune again. It’s likely that this change came about due to the backlash from Youtuber Logan Paul’s Aokigahara Forest video. Or maybe their initial action didn’t entice the major advertisers back to the platform.
An open letter to our community:
Many of you have been frustrated with our lack of communication recently. You’re right to be. You deserve to know what’s going on.
— YouTube (@YouTube) January 9, 2018
We expect more of the creators who build their community on @YouTube, as we’re sure you do too. The channel violated our community guidelines, we acted accordingly, and we are looking at further consequences.
— YouTube (@YouTube) January 9, 2018
Stricter rules for Youtube’s partner program.
Whatever their reason they have decided that channels must now have 4000 hours of watch time in a 12 month period and a minimum of 1000 subscribers. These new rules mean that it is going to be much harder for newer channels to make money. This may seem like a good idea to people that are committed to the platform and follow the rules. On the other hand, it may turn away would be stars from the platform. This is one of the major problems Youtube will have to face.
It’s hard enough for beginners to continually produce new content as well as holding down a job. The small amount of advertising revenue they previously received might have been enough to spur them on to success. Not only this but creators that were never interested in making it big, those who have niche channels, have lost the little incentive they had to create content.
Youtube is well within its rights to enforce certain standards. For the time being, everyone is just going to have to suck it up unless they reverse their decision.
Good news for Youtube and their current stars.
Of course, this decision could work in Youtube’s favour if advertisers start returning to the platform. They’ll initially lose money from the channels that don’t meet the new thresholds. However, so long as adverts are shown alongside appropriate content, advertisers will start to return to the platform.
As a result, bigger advertisers mean more money for both Youtube and creators whose channels meet the new minimum requirements.
Out with the old in with the…?
This is how I see Youtube meeting its demise or at least its superiority.
The problem that the platform now faces is how do they replace their current big money creators with new ones? In a similar vein to China’s one-child policy, they have inadvertently created a ‘Youtuber Gap’. When the current crop of Youtubers hang up their green screens, who will replace them? By disenfranchising new creators they are setting themselves up for a collapse in revenue in the future.
It may be a while before this happens or it may come sooner than we think. If you follow some of the more popular YouTubers they are starting to position themselves for a life outwith the platform. Many of them have been or are starting to invest their wealth to build a nest egg they can rely on when they give up Youtube.
You may think that that’s a little extreme and maybe it is but I believe that they’ll move the goal posts again. They will up the stakes to make their Partner Program threshold even harder to achieve and maintain. If they continue down this path they’ll need to reverse their policy or take a larger share of the advertising revenue to maintain current profit margins.
New Kid on the block.
Youtube is certainly going to be around for a long time to come. There will be a time, however, when a new platform starts to chip away at their dominance. A new video hosting platform that doesn’t have as strict criteria and who gives a larger share of the revenue to the content creators. If they can provide that and entice a few big names they’ll do just fine, as long as they don’t bow down to Youtube’s first offer of a buyout.