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Year in Review 2017: YouTube Creators, Partners and Live Streamers


This year YouTube Creators have been hit hard by changes to the YouTube Partner Program, and some favorite features were retired. But there were some nice updates as well, and there are exciting updates in store for 2018.

My top YouTube Creator updates for 2017:

  1. New YouTube Partner Program application process, requiring 10,000 lifetime views, followed by a channel review
  2. The Adpocalypse and expanded enforcement of the advertiser-friendly guidelines for monetization 
  3. Crackdown on hateful, violent, extremist content, and disturbing content aimed at kids
  4. Mobile live streaming available to (almost) all channels
  5. New ways for live streamers to earn: Super Chat and Sponsorship
Read on for more details and information about all the 2017 creator updates on YouTube, and what’s in store for 2018.

State of the ‘Tube: Billions and billions

New: YouTube TV and YouTube Go


YouTube is trying to expand into new markets and attracting new users. 

This year YouTube launched YouTube TV, which went live in April. The service brings live network and cable TV to folks in most US markets, with neat features like unlimited DVR storage to record your favorite shows. 

On the other side of the world, YouTube Go launched in India in February. It’s designed to be fast and accessible, improve the video watching experience on slower networks, and give users greater control over data usage. The app is now available in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam,the Philippines, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.

And YouTube Kids got a major update, introducing kid profiles and new parental controls for families around the world.
These updates are for viewers, though, not Creators. Read on Creators!

RIP: Annotations, YouTube Editor, In-video Featured Videos, Paid Channels


In 2017 YouTube retired the Flash-based video editor, and continued the move to mobile-friendly Cards in place of Annotations. 

YouTube Partner Program has tougher eligibility requirements

When the YouTube Partner Program launched back in 2007, it was invite only, for the “most popular creators”. Eventually you could apply to the program, but there were tough content and view requirements. By the end or 2010 there were 15,000 Partners, and YouTube gradually expanded the program, eventually even allowing monetization of individual popular videos on channels outside the Partner Program.

All of that changed in April 2012, when the YouTube Partner Program was opened to pretty much everyone. As the program expanded, more and more channels started churning out videos with questionable content (which - lets face it - is often very popular). That has culminated in what has been termed the “adpocalypse”, which I discuss below. And YouTube was already in the process of making changes before the advertisers struck back.

In April 2017 - almost exactly five years after the YouTube Partner Program opened up to most Creators - new new eligibility requirements were added. Now users must have at least 10,000 views on their channel, and content is reviewed before monetization is enabled.

Some Creators have found this to be a bit painful. Small channels that had previously monetized videos, have had their videos demonetized, at least until their channel reachedsthe view requirement. And the review process that ideally takes less than a week,is currently taking several weeks and sometimes longer than a month.

Even if you aren’t interested in putting ads on your videos, this should matter to you, as there are now a number of features only available to channels in the YouTube Partner Program.

Partner-only features include:
Learn more about changes to the YouTube Partner Program application process:

The Adpocalypse

With over a billion users I don’t think it’s particularly surprising to learn that there is a lot of offensive, hateful, disturbing, spammy, and even illegal content on YouTube. 

But the mainstream media and advertisers were seemingly taken aback that not only was this content on YouTube, but some of it was monetized. Advertisers understandably didn’t want to have their ads associated with such content and started pulling millions of dollars of ad buys. And YouTube and Google had to respond.

This started in earnest back in February, when the Wall Street Journal reported that popular YouTuber PewDiePie was monetizing videos with anti-Jewish jokes and Nazi imagery. The media started taking a closer look at other videos, and discovered that advertisers were “helping fund” violent extremists and hate organizations .

As more advertisers cancelled their ads, YouTube responded with a promise of a tougher stance on hateful content, and better controls for advertisers. And as they were developing those advertiser controls, few ads displayed on any videos. This was the beginning of the “adpocalypse”.

Ads gradually were restored. However, many Creators discovered that some - or in some cases all - of their videos had been flagged as “not suitable for most advertisers”.

And the months that followed, YouTube’s monetization policies became even stricter, and stricter, with action taken against extremist and terrorist content, and then - after more media reports exposing the problem - against disturbing or otherwise inappropriate content aimed at kids.

Many many Creators have become frustrated by the automated flagging of their seemingly innocuous content.

But I think the situation is improving. There is an option to submit “non-advertiser friendly” videos for review (although there is a minimum view or subscriber requirement). And YouTube is working to improve the accuracy of their automated algorithms. So things are getting better, at least compared to the situation six months ago.

Crackdown on violent, extremist and disturbing content


YouTube has not only demonetized videos with potentially hateful, violent, disturbing or otherwise advertiser-unfriendly content. It also has removed or made less visible hundreds of thousands of videos.

Some of those changes include:
In December YouTube reported that hundreds of thousands of videos had been removed for violent extremist content and disturbing content aimed at children since the new policies were implemented. Millions of videos have been demonetized.

Overall, I think these are good changes. It’s just unfortunate that YouTube took so long to deal with the problematic content which fed off of YouTube’s algorithms, letting the problem fester until something had to be done.

And from what I've observed, it’s not an easy problem to solve. Earlier this year, many LGBTQ videos were not available in “Restricted Mode”, which is meant to filter “mature” content. YouTube have improved their policies and systems to make sure that “non-graphic, personal accounts of difficult events” are not blocked. But that appears to have required significant investment in human review.

YouTube is building on that. In early December they announced that their goal is to have more than 10,000 “people across Google working to address content that might violate [their] policies”, which sounds like a significant commitment.

And YouTube continues to update its algorithms that look for content that violates policy or isn’t advertiser-friendly.

Hopefully in 2018 YouTube will be fewer crises and more focus on helping and promoting Creators who create quality family safe content.

Read more about updates to YouTube’s monetization and content policies

Live Streaming and YouTube Gaming


YouTube has been steadily improving live streaming features both for gamers and non-gaming live streamers. Mega live events like the long wait for April the giraffe to give birth are rare. But even small channels can live stream, either while playing your favorite game or vlogging from your phone

More Creator Updates


Changes to monetization and live streaming aren't the only updates in 2017. Here is an overview of the other Creator updates this past year.

General
Comments
Creator Studio and YouTube Analytics
VR Videos

Looking forward to 2018


What’s in store for 2018 on YouTube? Here are some features that were announced or in beta in 2017 that we're sure to see more of next year.
And there’s almost certainly going to be a few surprises.

My Top YouTube Tutorials



So that’s it for 2017. See you in the new year!

More 2017 Updates

Year in Review 2017: Google+ Comes Into Its Own
Year in Review 2017: Google and Your Photos
Year in Review 2017: Hangouts gets down to business
Year in Review 2017: Bloggers, AdSense Publishers, Webmasters

Comments

  1. Great post. I think YouTube is really good platform by any means, but their support team lack the ability of responding for content-creators. I emailed their for attaining the Community Tab and I didn't head from them till now. Although your post is really good but I am completely dissatisfied with support team.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure why support would not have responded to you after more than 48 hours, if your channel is in the YouTube Partner Program. Be sure to check your email account's spam or junk mail folder.

      Delete
    2. Atleast you could help me to get the Community tab. Channels with least sub count than me got the tab, but still not for me.

      Delete
    3. The Community tab is still rolling out to channels with at least 10,000 subscribers. Your channel will get it eventually.

      Delete

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