- Recent changes Google has made to YouTube in order to establish a stronger net of brand safety are impacting the livelihood of the site's content creators. Some of them are now losing as much as 80% of their monthly revenue, Bloomberg found in a report speaking with a dozen YouTube partners and creators.
- Bloomberg interviewed one video maker, Joe Taylor, whose channel JoeGo101 has seen earnings fall from $6,000 per month to around $1,000 per month. YouTube has yanked advertisements from hundreds of thousands of videos in a push to demonetize potentially offensive material, but many users feel that their videos are unfairly or arbitrarily targeted by the site's algorithm. The company is planning to hire 10,000 new employees to manually review content going forward.
- The bottom line is that this extreme hit to YouTube revenue might steer some creators to peel back or abandon producing videos for the platform or otherwise migrate to rivals like Amazon's popular streaming service Twitch, according to Bloomberg.
The major advertiser boycotts over brand safety on YouTube that occurred in the spring ended up having little impact on the site's revenue. Most businesses quickly returned to the platform, and will likely do so again following what's now a second major spending freeze over inappropriate children's content. What might hurt YouTube, in the long run, is a mass migration of the talent that made it a destination for audiences and advertisers to begin with, as evidenced by the Bloomberg report.
YouTube must manage a tough balancing act, as it needs brands to be assured that their ads are appearing alongside controversy-free videos but also must retain creators who produce original and fresh content people actually want to watch. These issues are unlikely to let up any time in the near future as the ad world continues to reckon with a non-transparent digital media landscape. Seventy-two percent of marketing chiefs now feel pressure from their bosses to secure brand trust, according to a CMO Council report released in September.
The X-factor to watch here will be Amazon's Twitch streaming service, which has, to date, largely been focused on video games but could expand to encompass a variety of content more brands would find appealing. Google certainly appears to be eyeing Amazon more carefully as a digital advertising competitor. The company last week pulled YouTube from Amazon Echo Show and Fire TV devices, citing a terms of services violation. The move was seen as escalating the rivalry between the two technology giants, with consumers losing out.