Youtube destroying Short Content Creators
The landscape is forever changing for YouTube creators and the goalposts have just been moved yet again.
When I think back to young naïve, 15 year old Daniel, I remember thinking about how cool it would be to be a YouTuber. You get to create your own content, you are technically getting paid to play videogames all day and you set your own hours and don’t have some hard-nosed boss breathing down your neck. It sounded like a dream.
Well older, wiser, more cynical Daniel thinks back to that time and says; “Thank God that I lacked the commitment and dedication to actually start a career in the YouTube game.”
On the 12th of April 2021, YouTube made the decision to demonetize all videos on the platform that are less than 2 minutes long without telling any of the creators that consistently create videos of that length. This means that animation channels, meme channels and any other creators of short, snappy content have had their livelihood pulled away from under them with no notice and with no official explanation.
Now, we all know that YouTube is a business and like all businesses, it has certain rules that it has to follow in order to keep investors happy and keep money rolling in. That is fair enough and it was a well-known fact amongst the short content community that any video under 30 seconds is unmonetizable. This was an accepted and established part of YouTube’s policy.
However to make this decision on April 12th and not even have the decency to give a heads up beforehand or even offer a reasonable explanation after the fact to creators is disgraceful behaviour. Below I will attach a video from YouTube content creator; TheRealSullyG, where he discusses the tiptoeing that YouTube did when he contacted them to avoid giving him any sort of a straight answer.
This is bigger than just another dumb online scandal, this is a major corporation messing with the livelihoods of people all over the world. Dolan Dark is another major creator that has questioned this new out-of-nowhere change to YouTube policy, as can be seen in the attached Tweet below.
This is only the latest abrupt and unclear change to YouTube policy in recent years. Since the launch of TikTok, (YouTube’s main current competition in terms of video sharing platforms,) YouTube’s algorithm has been favouring shorter, vertical videos over long form content.
We started a BGCP podcast a few months ago that we upload to YouTube and frankly, – with the size of established audience that we have on this site, – those episodes should be doing far greater numbers than what they are currently. Any chance of launching a successful podcast via YouTube seems to be totally dead in the water at this point.
It is not only a podcaster that I fear the upcoming changes to the platform, but also as an animator. I have never attempted to use YouTube as a money making platform for my animation work, because thankfully I have never had to, but now it seems as though that would no longer be an option.
Animation and podcasting aside, (as I do realize that those are both fairly niche issues on the wider YouTube platform,) it also seems like it is becoming harder and harder to make a name for yourself as any sort of YouTuber. On episode 6 of the BGCP podcast, we talked about how the same old action stars from the 1980’s are still the same guys making action movies today because the industry hasn’t allowed for anyone to replace them. Well, the same thing can be said about YouTube content creators.
Think about it; the biggest YouTubers on the site have all been creating video content for at least 5+ years at this point. Obviously I am talking about individual creators here and not company channels, but it seems like if you are an independent creator that started your channel just last year, you have totally missed the boat.
This goes against everything that YouTube stood for when it first launched. The whole point of this site in the first place was that you could “broadcast yourself.” Anyone could upload themselves onto this thing and anyone had the potential to make a career out of it.
Going back to TikTok and again looking at things from a corporate perspective, you can possibly start to justify why YouTube have decided to change some of their policies to try and keep up with the fresher competition. However, I also think that while TikTok is huge at the moment, it is not a viable long term business. TikTok is flavour of the month and like Vine and Music.ly before it, it will die off before too long.
All of this to say, that YouTube think that they are too big to fail at this point. They are owned by Google, – one of the biggest companies in the world, – and they don’t have any real major competition in terms of video streaming platforms. However, as big as they get as a company and as much money as they generate, one thing that will never change is the fact that they would be nothing without the content creators that upload to the platform.
Without the popularity of names like PewDiePie, JackSepticEye and KSI, the website would not have anywhere near the amount of pull that it does within the online sphere. Frankly, YouTube needs its major creators more than those creators need YouTube and if any one of those big names was to make that leap, others would follow and YouTube’s legacy could crumble within a very short space of time.
Several major creators have spoken in the past about the problems experienced when dealing with YouTube as a company and some have even mentioned the idea of moving their content over to another site that may be easier to work with if such a thing became available. This latest move could be the catalyst for that to happen and mark the beginning of the end for the online behemoth.
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