Last night I received an email from Google announcing that effective immediately YouTube had the right to monetize all content — including content not within its YouTube Partner Program, such as all of the videos on my YouTube channel. This came a bit as a surprise — in order for a channel owner to make money from YouTube Partner Program by uploading content, a channel needs to have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in 12 months — but as of now, it turns out, YouTube can monetize our videos, even if we don’t get a fraction of a penny. Effective immediately.
On the one hand, YouTube is free to use but not free to operate, and unquestionably there has been a surge in video content due to the pandemic. Most other “free” content-sharing and social media platforms already display ads interspersed with user content in their feed, so YouTube was just catching up to the same idea.
On the other hand, my content was uploaded to YouTube for demonstration and evaluation purposes, and not with the expectation of making a profit for myself or the company.
This is not about making money — after all, I also have music on other streaming services and the royalties of $0.002 per stream do not add up to a latte — it’s about improving the viewer experience when we can, expanding the context of our work, something I wrote about in this earlier post.
Even before YouTube’s policy change I began to slowly (very slowly) upload some of my videos to a new channel on Vimeo, the premium choice for filmmakers. Over the next few weeks I will likely re-upload most of my YouTube content to Vimeo and re-link all of the videos playing on this website, just so you as a viewer don’t have to watch an ad before watching something on my site.
But I’ll likely leave all of the content on YouTube, too — some of it has been there for over a decade. I just won’t link to it / embed it from this site or in new posts. It remains to be seen whether I will post new videos to YouTube — let’s see how this continues to develop.
It seems that there is more to say — but the path forward at the moment is also clear. If you’re on Vimeo —
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