By Adam Fraser
There is quite a kerfuffle over at YouTube.
Whilst claiming its actual policy hasn’t changed but its means of notifying content producers has, YouTube is demonetising videos (ie refusing to show ads, meaning no income for the producers of these videos) which feature:
- sexually suggestive content
- inappropriate language
- promotion of drugs
- controversial subjects
This doesn’t seem either surprising or unreasonable but the situation was not helped by a complete lack of communication with stars of the affected YouTube channels, many of whom have channels with multi millions of subscribers.
Another well known YouTube star Philip Defranco tweeted “Producer just got off the phone with Youtube and it wasn’t a mistake. Feels a little bit like getting stabbed in the back after 10 years”
A number of others took to YouTube to complain about the changes.
Alas, while YouTube may have mishandled the PR and communication aspect of this policy, the story itself is not that surprising. As with traditional broadcast media platforms before, advertisers on YouTube would clearly want control around the content their brand is associated with. This day was always going to come.
As I have previously written, the key lesson remains when you build your (content) house on rented (media) land you always run the risk of a change in the rules affecting your ability to drive the commercial outcomes you were seeking. Ask brands that previously invested significant sums to build Facebook fans only to find Facebook executed a “bait and switch” and then charged those brands to reach those very fans.
As some of its “stars” have just learned the hard way, YouTube is a commercial business entitled to enact any policy decision it wishes.