Starting Wednesday, YouTube began running ads on some content creators’ videos without sharing the revenue those ads bring in.
Traditionally, YouTube shares ad revenue with content creators in the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). In order to qualify to be in the YPP, a creator must have more than 1,000 subscribers and have accrued 4,000 viewing hours over the previous 12 months. It was relatively rare or specific circumstances that would cause creators not in the YPP to have ads play on their videos.
It appears YouTube is expanding those circumstances, however, with plans to monetize videos from creators that don’t qualify to be part of the YPP. The change was outlined in an update to the YouTube Terms of Service:
Right to Monetize
You grant to YouTube the right to monetize your Content on the Service (and such monetization may include displaying ads on or within Content or charging users a fee for access). This Agreement does not entitle you to any payments. Starting November 18, 2020, any payments you may be entitled to receive from YouTube under any other agreement between you and YouTube (including for example payments under the YouTube Partner Program, Channel memberships or Super Chat) will be treated as royalties. If required by law, Google will withhold taxes from such payments.
The company clarified its new Right to Monetize clause:
We added this new section to let you know that, starting today we’ll begin slowly rolling out ads on a limited number of videos from channels not in YPP. This means as a creator that’s not in YPP, you may see ads on some of your videos. Since you’re not currently in YPP, you won’t receive a share of the revenue from these ads, though you’ll still have the opportunity to apply for YPP as you normally would once you meet the eligibility requirements. You can always check your progress toward eligibility on the monetization tab in YouTube Studio.
It’s safe to say this will probably not be a welcome change. Many content creators will likely take issue with YouTube making money off of their hard work—before they’re able to reap any benefits themselves.