Publishers may join the YouTube Partner Program to enter a revenue share agreement with YouTube. The Google-company displays ads when a publisher's videos are played on the site, and the creator gets some of the revenue in return for that.
Publishers need to meet certain requirements before they may sign-up for the YouTube Partner Program; currently, the requirement is to have more than 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of viewed content over the past 12 month period.
Publishers who don't sign-up for the YouTube Partner Program, either because they don't meet the requirements or prefer that their videos are displayed without ads, provided viewers with an ad-free experience until now.
The change, called "right to monetize" in the YouTube Terms of Service, gives YouTube the right to monetize content that is available on the platform without compensation.
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.
Google plans to roll out ads on a "limited number of videos from channels" that are not in the YouTube Partner Program. Additionally, payments made from YouTube to U.S. creators will be considered "royalties" going forward. The change affects publishers from the United States only at this time but Google plans to expand this to other regions in 2021.
Advertisement won't be displayed if a video or publisher is not advertiser-friendly in the eyes of YouTube. Advertiser-unfriendly content includes videos with violence, adult content, harmful or dangerous acts, inappropriate language, or controversial issues. Creators could add such topics to their videos to avoid advertisements.
The change affects small channels that don't meet the partner program requirements yet and publishers who have made the deliberate decision not to join the program. While larger publishers may join the partner program to get at least some compensation for their efforts, small channels don't even have that option. YouTube is earning 100% of the revenue without even allowing these channels to get a share of the money because of the artificial limits the company put in place previously.
Google is pushing more and more ads on YouTube; while desktop users and mobile users may block ads using ad-blockers, the same cannot be said for viewing YouTube on most TVs. YouTube displays advertisement before a video starts, even if it is only a minute or so long, and started to push in-video ads more aggressively as well that pause the actual video.
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