It was only yesterday that YouTube announced that they would finally be offering a new pay-to-view service that will allow users to watch videos ad free. YouTube Red, on top of allowing ad free viewing, offers numerous other perks such as offline viewing and exclusive content. However it’s already leaving a bad impression for some, as it was discovered that Google has started removing the videos of content creators who don’t sign up for the new system. With the new YouTube Red came a new revenue sharing contract for partner creators, and Google is requiring them to sign up. Creators who don’t, will see their videos hidden from the public until they concede. This was confirmed in the FAQ for the YouTube Red announcement.
Google explained that the reasoning for this is so viewers will know all the content they view will work with YouTube Red, however this doesn’t fully explain why creators are being so quickly coerced into the contract. They go on to say that 99% of the content on YouTube will still be available with YouTube Red, and claim most partners have already signed up. They wouldn’t say exactly how much creators will receive under the new system, but said the vast majority of revenue goes to content creators. However, an article from TechCrunch points out that most recent contracts only promise 55% of ad revenue, well below programs like Spotify and Apple Music. YouTuber Total Biscuit confirmed this in a Sound Cloud regarding YouTube Red. While the majority of content creators likely won’t hesitate to sign up, the coercive factor hasn’t done anything to make Google or YouTube Red look good, calling back the time when Google came under fire for forcing Google+ onto YouTube.
YouTube Red itself has already been criticized by content creators who claim it will hurt smaller channels, in addition to the tactics beings used to force creators to jump on board. The way the new program works for content creators, is the $9.99 a month is split between every partner a user watches. It is split based on viewing time, which benefits users with more or longer videos. Smaller channels fear it will widen the gap between their content and already popular channels.
Other content creators like Total Biscuit say the new program will end up benefiting creators in the long run, but thus far few content creators have commented on the tactics being used to force partners to sign. Since YouTube is by far the most popular video site on the web, it seems like Google can get away with decisions like this without taking much of a punch, however more creators are turning to alternatives like Vimeo, or to services like Spotify for music. More creators may start speaking out after the new programs start effecting their monthly income, whether it be positive or negative.