YouTube has begun inserting ads in some videos from channels not in its YouTube Partner Program, and therefore not eligible to share in the ad revenue.
In a update to its terms of service this week, YouTube added language stating that it has the “right to monetize all content on the platform and ads may appear on videos from channels not in the YouTube Partner Program.”
“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,” YouTube’s terms of service page now states. “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.”
To be eligible for YPP, a channel must have more than 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months, more than 1,000 subscribers, and a linked AdSense account, among other requirements.
YouTube’s YPP channel monetization policies require following its community guidelines, as well as its terms of service, copyright and AdSense policies.
Now, ads may be run on any channel, regardless of size, as long as it meets YouTube’s “advertiser-friendly content guidelines.”
Those guidelines preclude inappropriate language, violence, “controversial issues and sensitive events,” “adult” content (and adult themes in family content) and content that is hateful, “incendiary and demeaning,” or about recreational drugs, tobacco or firearms.
The company confirmed to The Verge that ads will still not run on videos from non-partnered creators that center on sensitive topics, including politics, religion, alcohol and gambling.
Not surprisingly, smaller creators — some of whom make their livings through YouTube — expressed anger and frustration on social media.
“YouTube to smaller creators: you don’t make enough money to be paid but we think it’s enough to keep it,” tweeted one.
“I chose not to be in the Partner Program for the reason I don’t WANT ads on my original content…now will YouTube just put ads on it anyway?,” tweeted another. Others are calling for the company to be broken up by the government, or for creators to try to unionize.
YouTube generated $5 billion in ad revenue for Alphabet, also parent of Google, in this year’s third quarter alone. The company’s total revenues for the period rose 14% year-over-year, to $46.2 billion, reflecting “broad-based growth led by an increase in advertiser spend in Search and YouTube, as well as continued strength in Google Cloud and Play,” according to Alphabet.
YouTube’s revised terms of service now also mention that any payments from YouTube to U.S. creators will be considered “royalties” from a U.S. tax perspective.
In addition — reflecting YouTube’s legal battle with Clearview AI over scraping facial images from YouTube and other social sites for sale to companies and governmental agencies — YouTube’s revised TOS are more explicit about forbidding the collection of facial recognition information without permission.