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Does your channel meet the new YouTube Partner Program Watchtime Requirements?

Last week YouTube announced new eligibility requirements for the Partner Program. Instead of 10,000 total views, your channel must now have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watchtime over the past 12 months.

And not only does your channel need to meet those requirements to be accepted into the program, it needs to meet those requirements on an ongoing basis to remain in the program.

This is definitely hard for a lot of channels. YouTube has explained that the reason why they made the changes was to prevent "bad actors" from harming the program overall.  And they have pointed out that  90% of affected channels earned less than $2.50 last month, and 99% earn less than $8 per month (or less in a year than the $100 required to be issued a payment). There is no reason to doubt that's true

But that leaves 1% of affected channels that are actually regularly earning much more than that, and they will lose out. What kinds of channels? There are appliance repair tutorial channels that people only view when they need to fix something - so people spend a lot of time watching, but few subscribe. On the flip side, there are animation channels that take months to produce a 10 minute movie - they may have many subscribers, but not many hours of viewing. And there are likely many channels that almost - but not quite - meet the new requirements.

To learn more about you can get more details about the watch time on your channel, watch my brief video, or read on for more detailed information.

What happens if your channel is no longer eligible for the YouTube Partner Program?

YouTube emailed all current Partners with ineligible channels
If your channel is currently in the YouTube Partner Program, it will remain in the program until February 20th, 2018. At that time, if it does not meet the current eligibility requirements, it will be removed from the program. 
If your channel is not currently in the Partner Program, the application process has not changed. You can still set up your YouTube account and AdSense while your channel moves towards eligibility.

It's probably not as bad as you think!

⇨ When your channel becomes eligible you can apply to join the Partner Program again

As long as your monetization isn't disabled for cause this isn't a permanent removal from the program.

If your channel hasn't met the subscriber or watchtime requirements, but is otherwise eligible, you will see a progress bar on your channel's Monetization Settings page ( 

⇨ You will not lose any of your channel's current Creator features shows your channel's Status & Features

The only features that are Partner-only are earning money by running ads, Super Chat or Sponsorships, and - unfortunately - direct email support

These features are available to all Creators with a verified account (with any additional requirements noted):
The only feature in that list that is currently limited to Partners is links to external websites. This is what YouTube has announced:
When YPP eligibility requirements are updated on February 20, 2018, channels that currently have access to these features will continue to have access even if they're no longer in YPP. We'll be building out new eligibility criteria for this external linking feature. Get more information in our YPP FAQs
You can check which features your channel is currently eligible for on your channel's Status and Features page (

YouTube Analytics: Get detailed information about your channel's watch time

This channel won't be eligible for the YPP any time soon.
If your channel has not met the eligibility requirements, the Monetization Settings page will show how many how close your channel is to meeting them. 

But that overview doesn't tell the whole story. 

And if your channel is currently eligible, it doesn't show you how close your channel may be to dropping below the eligibility requirements.

Questions to ask:
  • Is my channel's watch time increasing or decreasing? 
  • Does my channel have enough watch time each month to maintain eligibility in the long term?
  • Are there specific videos with much more - or much less - watch time? 
  • Is there a specific point in my videos where viewers stop watching or lose interest?
  • Are there specific videos that are causing my channel to gain - or lose - subscribers? 
  • Are my viewers coming from a specific website or geographic location?
One thing you'll notice is that YouTube Analytics has a huge amount of data, so it can be hard to know where to start.  

I'm going to go into more detail about how to check your channel's watch time stats below, but you can get a good overview of how to use YouTube Analytics by starting here:

⇨ Check how many hours your channel was watched in the past 12 months

To be eligible for the YouTube Partner Program, your channel must have at least 4,000 hours (or 240,000 minutes) of watch time in the past 12 months.

YouTube Analytics defaults to showing your channel's watch time in minutes over the past few months.  You can use a bit of math to turn minutes into hours, or you can change the YouTube Analytics settings. 

Set the time period to 365 days

The watch time requirement is over the past 12 months, which is one year or 365 days (if it's not a leap year). 

To change the time covered by your reports:
2. Click the current time period at top right 
3. Select Last 365 days from the long list of options

Set the default unit for watch time from minutes to hours

To change the default unit of time:
2. Click the Settings gear icon at top right

3. Set unit for measuring watch time to hours
The default time period can also be set.

4. Save  the changes

Keep in mind that your channel must maintain that level of watch time to remain in the Partner Program.  4,000 hours of watch time per year, is equivalent to 20,000 minutes of watch time per month. 

⇨ Get detailed information about your channel's watch time over time

Your channel's Overview won't show you how your channel is performing over time or which videos are performing well or poorly.

To get more detailed information, check your channel's Watch time report

1.  Open YouTube Analytics
2.  On the left menu under Watch time reports click Watch time

⇨ Change the settings so the watch time reports show both Minutes and Hours

Watch time minutes are rounded up in reports
I think the watch time reports are easiest to understand when viewing minutes (at least for my channel that isn't getting hundreds of hours of watch time a day). But it's nice to be able to view both hours and minutes in the same report. 

To view your watch time stats in both minutes and hours

1.  Open YouTube Analytics
2.  On the left menu under Watch time reports click Watch time
3.  Make sure your default unit of time measurement is minutes
4.  On the top left of the report graph click Compare Metric

5. In the menu that opens click More Metrics

6. Select Watch time (hours)

That adds Watch time (hours) as a metric to your report overview, and individual video statistics.

⇨ Bookmark your report!

You can easily return to your favorite report by bookmarking the page after configuring the settings.

Click this link to see your channel's Watch Time report
  • Last 365 days
  • Default unit of time: minutes
  • Compare metric: watch time hours

⇨  Watch time metrics by video, device, geography and more

The Watch time report shows a graph of watch time over the time period selected.  You can easily see how your watch time has changed over that period. 

Immediately below the graph you will see your videos listed from most to least watch time. That will give you a good idea of what content of yours is performing well, and what might need some tweaking.

You can change the metrics to show watch time by:
  • Geography
  • Live stream vs On Demand
  • Device Type (Computer, mobile phone, tablet, TV, game console)
  • YouTube Product (YouTube, YouTube Gaming, YouTube Kids)
  • and more :) 
Click on a video title or other metric to get more details. 

⇨  Audience retention: Are people watching your videos to the end? 

No one watches my test videos, not even me
There are several components that determine how much time people spend watching your videos: how many people watch, how many videos they watch, and how long they watch each video.

That last element - how long people watch each video - can make a big difference.

Hour-long videos won't generate much watch time if each viewer only watches for one minute before clicking away. 

The Audience retention report lets you see how long viewers are sticking with each video.

2. Under Watch Time Reports on the left menu click Audience Retention

The report gives you an overview of average view duration and average percentage viewed.

Below the graph showing audience retention over time, click an individual video title to see a detailed report.

Not a test :)
The individual video report shows audience retention over time matched to a preview of the video itself, so you can see at what exact point the audience leaves or points where viewers re-watched the content.

⇨  Subscribers report: when are people following - and unfollowing - your channel?

Subscriber metrics were improved Sept. 2017 - before that "Other"
You can also get a detailed overview of your subscribers by viewing the Subscribers Report.

There you can find: 
  • Subscription source: Where people subscribe and unsubscribe, including video watch pages, your channel, search results, closed accounts, and so forth
  • Geography: location of your subscribers
  • Compare activity of subscribed and not subscribed viewers

How to increase your channel's watch time

There are a number of steps you can take to try to improve the watch time on your channel.

Obviously increasing your channel's overall viewership can make a positive difference. The YouTube Creator Academy has a series of free courses that can help you Grow your channel.

But here are some general tips;
And keep in mind that even if your channel is no longer eligible for monetization, you can still earn money through crowdfunding or selling merch


  1. I think this change is Good and Bad too. I accept the Watch time is good condition here, but why 1000 Subscriber ?
    All channels are not interesting/funny that entertain people so they can Subscribe. Some channels are Technical, Repairing, Software troubleshooting. Once the viewers watch the video and solved their problem related to their issue- they gone, they don't subscribe because they don't have other problems with their PC. So they don't watch other videos on that channel nor Subscribe because they don't have others problem which discuss in other videos.
    I don't understand WHY YouTube make 1000 Subscribers rules for monetization?
    Watch time... OK ... I accept it is GOOD change in monetization process.
    HOPE they will change this SUBSCRIBER criteria Soon, so my channel will start earning again after February 20, 2018.


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Spam and personal attacks are not allowed. Any comment may be removed at my own discretion ~ Peggy