Drastic Changes to YouTube Partner Program Discourages Small Channels

Today YouTube announced changes to their Partner Program, drastically increasing the thresholds a channel must reach to become monetized. Starting February 20, 2018, a YouTube channel must have 4,000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers to be eligible for ad revenue. Previously, channels needed just 10,000 total views to qualify. I was notified via email that my channel, The Frugal Man LA, did not meet the new requirements and would be terminated from the Partner Program if I couldn’t surpass the new thresholds by the February 20th deadline.

With 440 subscribers (Thank you!) and 1,155 hours watched in the past 12 months, I’d have to more than double my subscribers and quadruple my hours watched in 30 days… I’m an optimist, but that’ll never happen. In all likelihood my channel, along with thousands of other small channels, will be demonitized next month. Most of us aren’t making much money from our channels, but the money we did make was confirmation that our videos had value. My ad revenue actually began to spike in the past few months after over a year of stagnation. I was finally beginning to see the fruits of my labor and now I feel defeated.

I have to decide the motivating factor for The Frugal Man LA. For years friends and coworkers encouraged me to share the ways I “live well on a budget.” On a whim, Cameraman David and I decided to shoot our first video and we had so much fun we just kept making them. Then I created this blog to compliment the videos. Before I knew it, I was reaching people around the world and making frugal look fly. Helping people save money and realize living on a budget doesn’t suck, motivates me. However, a lot of time, energy, and (some) money goes into making all those videos. Coordinating visits to 11 different free museums in LA takes a lot of effort. Making some money for creating quality videos that inform and entertain also motivates me.

I understand YouTube’s predicament. It seems impossible to police every video uploaded to YouTube and also assure advertisers that their brands won’t be associated with offensive content. Creating impossibly high conditions to join the Partner Program will most likely keep advertisers separated from offensive content. But those conditions will also discourage many smaller channels, possibly leading to a lack of diversity on YouTube.

As a compromise, I think YouTube could offer a few ways for current Partner Program channels who don’t meet the new requirements to be grandfathered in the program. We could be given more time to reach the new thresholds, 100 days sounds way more reasonable than 30. Or institute a process for the channels to be reviewed. Suddenly cutting so many channels out of the Partner Program sends a demoralizing message to those creators. Instead, I’d love to see YouTube and advertisers support those deserving channels and help them continue to flourish.

What’s YOUR reaction to the new YouTube Partner Program rules? How will your channel be affected by these changes? Hit me up in the comments section!

4 Comments on “Drastic Changes to YouTube Partner Program Discourages Small Channels”

  1. Thirty days notice to achieve a suddenly high threshold isn’t reasonable. They should have been discussing their plan long before now. The best I can do to help is play your videos in the background while I’m reading emails and surfing for information.

    1. Thanks man, I appreciate it but it’ll probably take a miracle for me to reach that new threshold.
      30 days notice really is a slap in the face to the smaller channels. Maybe this is the new direction of YouTube, but I hope they’ll change their mind and give us other ways to remain in the Partner Program.

  2. I really enjoy the Frugal Man LA posts on YouTube and think that it really sucks that the platform is being pulled out from under with hardly enough time to gather more subscribers. How unfair to give 30 days only. Most businesses start out small but the powers that Be seem to forget that. I think it’s unconscionable what YouTube is doing to the small channels. Maybe more than one can be joined together to share subscribers and advertisers. Something has to be done ASAP so current subscribers can still all their great info.

    1. It really does seem like YouTube is trying to discourage smaller channels from attempting to grow and become more popular. It’s an odd strategy that I don’t quite understand. The Frugal Man LA will continue to make videos, we just won’t be a part of the YouTube Partner Program, so we won’t be able to earn any money from the videos.

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