Why YouTube is not working for Content Creators

I had that "told you so" moment many many months ago, yet nobody seemed to listen. Now, even big content creators are feeling the pinch.

To give you some context to what I am about to share with you, I have been a content creator on YouTube for almost nine years. Around 2-3 years ago, myself and many fellow content creators saw a shift in the way their channels were promoted. YouTube changed their game and did not communicate this effectively to the thousands of channels that were partners. For want of a better explanation, partners earn revenue from the adverts placed on their videos. Even top performing channels were hit by these changes and only those on their rise to fame seemed to be protected. 

Being what I would term as a "professional content creator" part of my daily, or at least weekly tasks is to keep an eye on my viewing figures. This includes seeing where views are coming from. When this decline in views started to happen, I noticed a shift in how little my channel was being "promoted" by the powers that be. In previous years, I would find myself featured in the "Top Ten Channels" in my particular genre. This was one of the features and promotional activities that had disappeared. Alongside this, YouTube was investing in top channels, injecting cash into their business activities to increase their production value. 

So I had analysed my own channel and moved on to checking how others were doing. I saw the same trend again and again. Reaching out to some content creators, they confirmed the same thing was happening to their views and indeed revenue. It seems the right thing to refrain from naming any of these channels here, as I would not like them to have to deal with any fallout. 

A couple of years ago, I really felt I had to talk to my viewers about the importance of pivoting. How they should change paths, look for new platforms and revenue models. Because I care so much and was aware that many of my viewers were also YouTubers, I wanted to warn them to always be on top of their games. Many of them took absolutely no notice or even argued the fact that I was the only one experiencing a drop in views. It was important for me to take action, so soon after I came across Patreon and launched my own campaign, giving loyal viewers the chance to support what I was doing and trying to achieve.

Patreon is a website/service that allows content creators to gain support from their viewers, readers or listeners. Think of it as a subscription model, whereby the creator offers various perks in exchange for a small monthly contribution. Many viewers rebuffed this model, as they were (and still are) so used to getting their content for free. Only loyal supporters realised that their favourite creators needed support to continue what they are doing.

"I had that 'told you so' moment many many months ago, yet nobody seemed to listen. Now, even big content creators are feeling the pinch." 
Just today, I watched a video from one of my fellow video creators. I was so happy to read the title of the video, but also had another "told you so" moment. Toward the latter part of the video below, Linus starts to talk about the recent changes YouTube have made to their Terms of Service and the need to look at other revenue models. Citing the likes of another revenue generating platform such as Vessel.

Video Credit: LinusTechTips

As a whole, this is a very positive video from Linus, but shows that even channels with over one million subscribers cannot sit on their laurels. They have bills to pay and revenue to generate, to enable them to do what they are passionate about … sharing great content. YouTube either need to sit up and listen. They need to publish clear and concise guidelines. It is also time that they re-evaluated their own business model and offer professional creators on their platform a better deal and more opportunities for stable revenue streams. 

Jon Rettinger, President & Editorial Director of Technobuffalo adds … "This is a very scary time for content creators.  Once reliable streams of revenue are being systematically closed and replaced with a system that is taking chunks out of profits.  TechnoBuffalo is currently partnered with Discovery Communications and is grandfathered into their old Tos, so fortunately, we are not affected.   However big paradigm shifts like this are a primary reason I started the website, as an extra insulatory layer from the changes in the video space.   The best advice I can give is to hedge your bet.  Don’t rely on one single source of revenue.  Diversification, much like in the market is always to your advantage."

Now is the time for change! If you are a viewer, maybe consider supporting your favourite content creators. If you are a content creator, do not get lazy, get creative and research different ways to generate revenue. It would be a shame if we all rely on this "free model" only to find that the only free videos out there are nothing more than a toddler biting a babies finger.

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An online video documentary series to shine a light on the UK startup scene and inspire other young entrepreneurs, through one entrepreneur's story of trying to launch his business in the capital.

Suitcase Startup is a documentary series following what it truly takes to get a business off the ground, from marketing on a tight budget to building a team, raising finance and launching, Suitcase Startup is the story of the entrepreneur’s journey, of trying to make a dream, a reality.

Chris Bradley is the first-time entrepreneur under the spotlight, and he’s inviting anyone with an interest in the startup scene to come along for the ride over the next four months, through 8 episodes appearing on The Next Web, each covering the blood sweat and tears involved as he attempts to take his startup, Publicate, from a bedroom in North Wales to London – with no office, no accommodation and no money. He does, however, have a suitcase. Will it be enough?

This is evidently a story that is aching to be told as the project has attracted major sponsors, Rackspace The Open Cloud Company , Natwest and 99designs, many partners have also come forward to help Chris on his journey; Smarta, Newspepper, 1000 heads, Startup Stay, Chesamel and Pensar IT.

In this time of economic recession and employment uncertainty, starting up has never seemed so attractive. With UK unemployment figures reaching 7.7% (2.49 million), the idea of striking out solo is becoming more and more popular with 25,026 new businesses registered in the UK in the last month alone. (as of 24th Jan 2013)

It is irrefutable - entrepreneurship is a movement, and one the government is finally getting behind. With the new start-up loans scheme in force and new tax relief schemes for investors, the thinking goes that startups are one way out of the country’s recession.

The success stories splashed across the media depict companies with a handful of staff being acquired for millions – it’s enough to make anyone want to start a business. The tales that aren’t told however, are those of the thousands of startups that fail every month and the one in three that will fall flat within a few years, the story that needs to be told, is about the journey involved, success or failure, and what lessons this journey can teach.

About Chris

A South African born Brit, Chris (29) came up with the idea for Publicate during his career working for the world's second largest LCD manufacturer, spending 4 years in Amsterdam and 2 years in Taiwan. For as long as he can remember, Chris has wanted to be an entrepreneur and is now following his dream, but the journey has only just begun...

Entrepreneur: How I made $10K in one day with Facebook Ads

As a counterpoint to the company that claimed its Facebook Ads didn't work because most clicks came from bots, entrepreneur Brendan Irvine-Broque decided to tell the story of how he used the social network's advertising platform to make five figures in one day.

After deciding to get rid of a record collection consisting of 6,000 vinyl records, Irvine-Broque created a Facebook Event titled "MASSIVE Vinyl Sale in the East Bay!" He then spent $150 to promote it using Facebook Ads, which simply said "6000 Vinyl Records, $3 Each" and pointed to the event. Here's the description in full (sans address):

I used to be a record dealer, specializing in rare and private press LPs and 45s, and have thousands of vinyl records sitting in storage, many of which I've never even seen. It's time to let go of them, and now that it's warm outside, I figured it'd be a good time to setup some tables outside and have folks over to dig through. There are well over 6000 records, including tons of private press of all genres, obscure 12-inch singles, etc. Everything is $3 each, save for 1-2 boxes of heavily discounted rarities. I'll have snacks and drinks, feel free to bring your own too. Lots of good food just up the street in case you get hungry. Hope to see you there!

[Source: cnet - Click to read the full story]