Monetization on YouTube


Eliza Czosnek, Writer/Illustrator

Many creators on YouTube are irritated by the conditions the platform is setting for monetization on videos. Since 2007, creators have been able to put advertisements on videos, but between getting copyright striked and demonetized, creators are making less revenue than ever. This could result in content creators to stop using YouTube and move to other platforms.

In 2015, YouTube launched services users can pay for like YouTube Premium, YouTube Music, and a few others, but creators main way of making money is through advertisement revenue. There are three different types of advertisements that can be placed on the bottom of the video screen, to the side of the video, and before, in the middle, or after a video. 

According to Vplayed, a media streaming solution company, the criteria to be able to put advertisements on videos have gotten harder to meet in recent years. In 2017, YouTube started to block controversial and sensitive subjects, but creators thought this was restricting their creativity. 2018 came with stricter guidelines on what was considered controversial content. 2019 brought the worst changes, especially for small channels. YouTube added the requirements of having at least 4000 hours of watch time and 1000 subscribers in a 12 month period. 

YouTube takes 45% of the revenue leaving creators 55%, but what makes a video ad-worthy besides subscribers and watch time? Companies often gravitate more towards higher quality and more popular videos, videos that have more views, and videos with higher viewer engagement, meaning comments and likes. One big factor companies look at is controversy in videos or the creator themselves. If the creator has ever gotten bad publicity or is talking about controversial topics in their videos, ad companies are less likely to pick that creator to represent them. 

Another thing that makes it hard for creators to make money like they used to is copyright striking, also known as “copy-striking;” companies or even other creators can “strike” a video for using their content. Lately, creators have been getting more copy-strikes than ever. Music companies will strike a video with barely three seconds of their song in it and other creators will strike for using a clip from their own video. When a video is striked and YouTube lets it pass, the company or person who reported the “illegal” use gets the 55% of revenue that the creator of the video would be getting, and the creator gets none. 

Creators on YouTube are having an increasingly harder time profiting from their videos. Many fear YouTube set more obstacles for creators rather than fixing the problem. There is hope YouTube will begin to respect and listen to the creators who make the platform better.