YouTube has recently updated its Terms of Service. According to an email sent to subscribers, the update included few practical changes and was primarily intended to clarify existing language including on YouTube’s changing monetization policies.
So, what is the new language, and how do YouTube’s changing monetization policies affect you?
What the New YouTube Terms Say About Monetization
The previous Terms of Service iteration cited in the email came out in November 2020 and caused more than a little stir. This was largely because of a new clause in the ToS that reserves the right for YouTube to place advertisements in videos that were not created by creators in the YouTube Partner Program.
YouTube’s Terms of Service states:
You grant 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.
So, how is this different from YouTube’s monetization policies in the past? And how does it affect you, the viewer?
How Is This Approach Different for YouTube?
Historically, YouTube has only placed ads in videos created by members of its Partner Program. The YouTube Partner Program allows channels to make money from their videos, but there are some hurdles that need to be overcome first.
For example, a channel cannot apply for the partner program until it has at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of public watch time in the last twelve months. Further, Partner Program members are usually held a bit more accountable when it comes to some of YouTube’s community guidelines.
For the viewer, this meant two things: only videos by partner program channels contained ads and videos that contained ads could be expected to be of higher quality. Now, neither of those things are necessarily the case.
Ads on Non-Partner Videos Don’t Help Creators
YouTube’s new monetization strategy means more ads on more content. The home movie style videos that used to be YouTube’s bread and butter will now also be susceptible to ads. It’s also annoying knowing that these ads won’t help the creators.
In the past, when people complained about YouTube ads, it was easy to defend YouTube on the grounds that some of that money went to the content creators allowing them to make better content. Now that YouTube will be monetizing videos not in the Partner Program, YouTube will be making money off of creators that don’t get a cut.
Increased Income Helps YouTube Fund New Features
It’s not all bad news and YouTube being greedy, however. YouTube has some solid reasons to look for more money. And, as annoying as the monetization of non-partner videos may be, it allows YouTube to make more money without cutting the money that does go to partners.
For example, YouTube is testing automatic translation on videos. Services like this make YouTube more accessible and enjoyable, but they don’t come free. When YouTube had fewer ads it also wasn’t offering services like automatic translation, or even captioning, which we now take for granted.
You’ll Probably Still Watch Just as Much YouTube
It’s possible that this new marketing strategy will adversely affect YouTube. After all, YouTube is no longer the only place to go for homemade videos. If their ads prove too much, people may jump ship and YouTube may lose out on that revenue increase.
However, before you complain too much about YouTube’s changing monetization policy, think again about everything that you’re really getting when you use the free service and ask yourself if it really isn’t worth it.