Its Halloween and it’s that time of year when people try to out do each other with scary stories. On Wednesday YouTube joined in and managed to frighten a whole community of YouTube channel owners by launching a new service which has massive repercussions for how they will get paid. And it starts immediately. And its exactly at the time of year when most video content creators can expect their highest income.
The new changes are caused by the launch of a new service called YouTube Red. This service is now available in the US and will be available internationally shortly.
Although the details are a bit sketchy here is a run down of what’s happening and implications for us all based on the information provided so far.
What is YouTube Red?
It is a subscription service aimed at viewers who are fed up of the ads that appear across YouTube. These ads are a bit annoying and YouTube recognise this. But there are plenty of video creators and video bloggers (vloggers) who really need those ads as they have a small payment each time a viewer watches the advert. Plenty of viewers understand this and watch the adverts as a way of supporting the video creators.
Here is YouTube’s advert (ironic eh!) for Red
Subscibers will pay $9.99 per month (after a free trial month) and in return ALL adverts will disappear. There are few other benefits too.
Here is a quick summary.
Benefits to Users of Joining YouTube Red:-
- No adverts
- Videos can be downloaded to be viewed offline for 30 days
- Videos can be listened to with the screen switched off
- Videos can listened to in the background when using other apps
- From 2016 video creators can create content just for YouTube Red users
- Free Google Play Music membership ($10 per month)
- Access to a new YouTube music app
- Access to YouTube gaming
It is worth remembering that the ‘normal’ Youtube service will continue as before. So the effects of YouTube Red will depend on how many visitors will be willing to pay a subscription to get rid of the ads. It seems that YouTube’s owners Google are hoping YouTube Red will become a premium service which a significant percentage of users will sign up for to watch premium content. They have already signed up some big YouTube names such as PewDiePie who have agreed to make premium videos just for YouTube Red subscribers. Some of the planned premium content will include videos to watch with VR (virtual reality) headsets.
YouTube are offering a free month’s trial and have finally agreed to pay the video creators during this free period despite originally saying that they would not. It will be interesting to see how many people actually sign up and pay for a service which has always been free. And plenty of people who hate ads already use Adblocker anyway. So the real value may lie in the premium content that will not be available elsewhere.
What Does This Mean for Video Creators?
For many video creators this is a really serious situation. The launch of YouTube Red is really scary and it is ironic that it has been launched at Halloween. But this is not some sick Halloween prank. Actually its launch date is also an extra burden as November and December is one of the highest earning months for many You Tubers so this is a huge blow. Strange how YouYube choose this time of year…
The problem is compounded by the fact that payments are already very low. Video creators only get paid when the viewer watches an entire advert. If they press Skip then the video creator doesn’t get paid. The problem is that the payments they have been receiving have been falling over recent years. So many video channel owners have been looking to other methods to supplement their income such as sponsorship and selling products like ebooks or merchandise e.g. t shirts. Life was already getting tougher for vloggers (video bloggers) and video creators before the launch of YouTube Red. If you bear in mind that many are relying on this income. Some have quit their jobs and spent a lot of time and effort building up their channels. Other rely on their income to supplement part time jobs. So many are now really worried and there is a lot of additional worry as the details of the scheme provided so far are a bit sketchy. There is a lot of concern that YouTube Red is untested among channel owners so no one knows as yet how it will affect incomes.
As A Video Creator Do I Have To Participate with YouTube Red?
No but they have set it up so you will miss out big time if you don’t agree. If you have a YouTube channel then you can choose whether to be included in the YouTube Red scheme. (If you are in the US this is available now, for everyone else it is coming soon) But if you choose not to be included YouTube will not distribute your videos so your channel suffer. So you have a choice but not much of one.
How I Get Paid with YouTube Red?
Firstly I want to explain that details are unclear so this information could change. YouTube haven’t been very specific. But it seems that creators will get paid a percentage based on the time that the user spends on their videos. All the subscriptions are going into a large pot and then YouTube will pay out everyone based on a calculation that is very unclear. So what we can work out is that certain categories should do better such as gaming content due to the longer video lengths. But it seems unfair when there are many shorter video creators who deserve an equal pay out. Equally small YouTube channels with not many subscribers are likely to suffer. There is a massive danger this scheme will stifle up and coming talent.
The other video platforms like Vimeo will be watching these changes closely. And don’t forget that Facebook are moving into the video sector too.
Quick Tips for Video Creators
- On what we know so far it looks like the longer videos will earn the most money as people will watch them for longer so creators need to think about keeping their viewers engaged for longer.
- This is a reminder that it is dangerous to rely on any one platform for all of your income. ANY of them (Google, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Periscope, etc) can change the rules any time they want. We are always advising our clients to diversify to ensure that you have multiple income streams. Easier said than done of course. But this week’s Halloween scare courtesy of YouTube illustrates the importance.
- If you were thinking of launching a Youtube channel don’t let this put you off. But keep a close eye on developments to see what happens.
What do you think about YouTube Red? Can you share any insight to help others? Please use the comments box below.