January 19, 2018

No new voices

I know a lot of conservative Youtube creators like Mark Dice and Gary Franchi (of the Next News Network) have been rightfully complaining about YouTube demonetizing their Youtube Channels.  In a similar vein to the Twitter shadow banning scandal there is clearly a tech drive to silence conservative voices, or at least to minimize the size of those voices.  Youtube has taken things a step further, but I don't think it's a political move, it seems to be more about monetization and revenue.

I have a Youtube channel that I've dabbled in.  I typically don't mention it here because (a) it's small and (b) it's about music, not politics.  The videos I have posted are fan-videos and most only have a a few hundred views.  One managed to make it through the noise and is currently closing in on 75,000 views.  As a result, I have 91 subscribers and over the last year nearly 3000 hours of viewed video.  Not bad.

But I received an email notification a couple of days ago that Youtube was changing it's monetization policy to only allow creators to monetize their videos if they have met both of the following criteria (i) 4000+ hours of viewed video in the last 12 months (as of Feb 2018) and a minimum of 1000 subscribers.  I suspect that will demonitize 95% of all content providers on Youtube.  

Dumb.

I get the thinking - let's provide advertisers with a platform that gets a lot of eyeballs. We can charge higher advertising rates that way.  But a lot of smaller creators are going to become disenfranchised.  Many, not all, like the idea of being able to create something and actually profit from it.  Many, not all, are going to reconsider creating content.  The result is inevitable, less content providers.  Less diversity in content, more homogeneity of content.  Boring.  Fewer viewers of Youtube.  It won't happen overnight, but it will happen to some extent.

Youtube must be banking on the idea that creators are predominantly in it for the enjoyment.  Perhaps.  But there are many who put a lot of effort into their content and enjoyment is not enough of a payoff.  Not me - I'm in it for the enjoyment, but I have made some money.  It's a bonus, but not a motivator.  What I'm concerned about is eventually being able to find fewer unique content providers because of this change. Or perhaps content with less effort attached.  What might have been smarter is a two tiered monetization policy where smaller creators would attract smaller advertisers at lower rates and be compensated at a lower rate accordingly.

I don't own Youtube, Google does, it's their call.  But their decision has narrowed the world of voices in media. Self-serving, which is okay, but it is spectacularly Dumb.
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