2018 marked a tough year for many of you, with several issues affecting our community and the revenue earned from advertising through the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). Despite those issues, more creators than ever are earning a living on YouTube, with the number of channels making over six figures up over 40% year-over-year. In 2020, a major focus for everyone at YouTube is protecting our creator ecosystem and ensuring your revenue is more stable.
As Susan mentioned in December, we’re making changes to address the issues that affected our community in 2018 so we can prevent bad actors from harming the inspiring and original creators around the world who make their living on YouTube. A big part of that effort will be strengthening our requirements for monetization so spammers, impersonators, and other bad actors can’t hurt our ecosystem or take advantage of you while continuing to reward those who make our platform great.
Back in April of 2018, we set a YPP eligibility requirement of 10,000-lifetime views. While that threshold provided more information to determine whether a channel followed our community guidelines and policies, it’s been clear over the last few months that we need a higher standard.
Starting today we’re changing the eligibility requirement for monetization to 4,000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers. We’ve arrived at these new thresholds after thorough analysis and conversations with creators like you. They will allow us to significantly improve our ability to identify creators who contribute positively to the community and help drive more ad revenue to them (and away from bad actors). These higher standards will also help us prevent potentially inappropriate videos from monetizing which can hurt revenue for everyone.
On February 20th, 2020, we’ll also implement this threshold across existing channels on the platform, to allow for a 30 day grace period. On that date, channels with fewer than 1,000 subs or 4,000 watch hours will no longer be able to earn money on YouTube. When they reach 1,000 subs and 4,000 watch hours they will be automatically re-evaluated under strict criteria to ensure they comply with our policies. New channels will need to apply, and their application will be evaluated when they hit these milestones.
Though these changes will affect a significant number of channels, 99% of those affected were making less than $100 per year in the last year, with 90% earning less than $2.50 in the last month. Any of the channels who no longer meet this threshold will be paid what they’ve already earned based on our AdSense policies. After thoughtful consideration, we believe these are necessary compromises to protect our community.
Of course, size alone is not enough to determine whether a channel is suitable for monetization, so we’ll continue to use signals like community strikes, spam, and other abuse flags to ensure we’re protecting our creator community from bad actors. As we continue to protect our platform from abuse, we want to remind all of you to follow YouTube’s Community Guidelines, Monetization Basics & Policies, Terms of Service, and Google AdSense program policies, as violating any of these may lead to removal from the YouTube Partner Program.
While this change will tackle the potential abuse of a large but disparate group of smaller channels, we also know that the bad action of a single, large channel can also have an impact on the community and how advertisers view YouTube. We’ll be working to schedule conversations with our creators in the months ahead so we can hear your thoughts and ideas and what more we can do to tackle that challenge.
One of YouTube’s core values is to provide anyone the opportunity to earn money from a thriving channel, and while our policies will evolve over time, our commitment to that value remains. Those of you who want more details around this change, or haven’t yet reached this new 4,000 hour/1,000 subscriber threshold can continue to benefit from our Creator Academy, our Help Center, and all the resources on the Creator Site to grow your channels.
Even though 2017 was a challenging year, thanks to creators like you, it was full of the moments that make YouTube such a special place. Creators large and small, established and emerging, transformed their talent and originality into videos that captivated over a billion people around the world. They made us laugh, taught us about our world and warmed our hearts. We’re confident the steps we’re taking today will help protect and grow our inspiring community well into the future.
Neal Mohan, Chief Product Officer and Robert Kyncl, Chief Business Officer
For a channel to be eligible for monetization, it will have to meet the following requirements:
Have at least 1,000 subscribers
Have at least 4,000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months
Channel/content must adhere to the YouTube Partner Program policies, YouTube Terms of Service, YouTube spam policies, and the Community Guidelines.
How do I apply to the YouTube Partner Program?
To apply to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) you can follow these steps, and once the channel meets the first 2 requirements, YouTube will review the channel to make sure it follows all their policies, guidelines and terms.
What will happen to my application to join the YouTube Partner Program if it’s currently pending?
For those who currently have a pending application to join YPP, the new requirements will apply. YouTube will review your request in the next few weeks and send an email to the creators with the results of the review.
I’m part of the YouTube Partner Program but I don’t meet the requirements, will my monetization be removed?
If you are already part of the YPP, these requirements apply as well. You will have to meet these requirements until February 20, 2018, or ads will stop running on your videos, and you will be removed from the YPP. But don’t worry if you are not able to meet the requirements, you can re-apply to the program again 30 days after suspension. If until this date your channel meets the requirements, YouTube will automatically re-evaluate your channel for YPP.
My channel meets the requirements for YPP but my monetization was disabled, what should I do?
A channel may be removed from YPP and have the monetization removed for a number of reasons. Please review this article from YouTube and go through the steps available to identify the reason and what to do next. In addition to that, on October 9, 2018, YouTube shared more details related to this type of situation, including duplication of content, which we covered in this article.
You should be able to reapply after 30 days, but you need to make sure that your channel/content adheres to the YouTube Partner Program policies, YouTube Terms of Service, YouTube spam policies, and the Community Guidelines. Community strikes, spam, and other abuse flags will prevent you from joining the program.
If you’re a Freedom! partner but you are not sure what the problem is, get in touch with our support team so we can help review your content and the potential issues that lead to this problem. We are always ready to help.
How do I check my watch time?
Go to your YouTube Analytics
After applying to the YouTube Partner Program, you can go to your monetization tab at any moment to check the number of watch hours.
New YouTube Community Guidelines Strikes System
Although 98% of you never break our Community Guidelines, they are vital to making YouTube a strong community and balancing freedom of expression with the freedom to belong. That’s why—from our earliest days—we’ve relied on a three-strikes system and email notices to give everyone a chance to review and understand what went wrong before they face more severe consequences. And it works: 94% of those who do receive a first strike never get a second one.
Consistent strikes across all of YouTube
We’re also making the penalty for violating our Community Guidelines the same wherever it happens. While most strikes result from videos, our Community Guidelines cover all content on YouTube, including stories, custom thumbnails, or links to other websites included in a video’s description or info card.
Previously, not all strikes had the same penalty on your channel. For example, first strikes on videos would trigger a 90-day freeze on live streaming, and second strikes would result in a two-week freeze on new video uploads. We heard from many of you that this was confusing and the penalty didn’t match the source of the strike. Now, based on your feedback, all Community Guidelines strikes will have the same penalty:
As mentioned, everyone who uploads content to YouTube will now receive a warning the first time their content crosses the line. Although the content will be removed, there will be no other penalty on the channel. There will be only one warning and unlike strikes, the warning will not reset after 90 days.
- The first strike will result in a one-week freeze on the ability to upload any new content to YouTube, including live streaming, and other channel activities. Strikes will expire after 90 days.
- The second strike in any 90-day period will result in a two-week freeze on the ability to upload any new content to YouTube.
- The third strike in any 90-day period will result in channel termination.
Transparency about your channel status
Finally, we always want to make it clear why a strike occurred, what it means for your channel, and the next steps that are available—including appealing the decision in case you think it was a mistake. To that end, we’re making our email and desktop notifications clearer, and they will provide more details on which policy was violated. We are also adding new mobile and in-product notifications to make sure you have all the important information about a strike available at a glance.
These updates are part of our ongoing work to make sure that YouTube is the best place to listen, share, and create community through your stories. Our strikes system is an important way for us to help creators and artists understand when they’ve crossed the line by uploading content that undermines that goal, and your feedback has helped to make this system work better for the entire community. We’ll build on this and all the progress we’ve made over the last year by continuing to consult with you as we strengthen enforcement and update our policies. We want to make sure they’re easy to understand and address the needs of the global YouTube community.