If you've got a small YouTube channel, you may have received an email from YouTube this morning. Unless you've got over 1,000 subscribers and have surpassed 4,000 viewing hours in the last 12 months, you're no longer eligible to earn revenue.
The new changes to YouTube's partner program are set to take place on 20th February, and the email that has been sent out states that it acts as a 30-day notice. If you're close to hitting the threshold, you've got 30 days to do so before any changes are made to your account, but if you fail to reach the threshold in 30 days, then you'll lose access to all of YouTube's monetisation features.
As someone who operates a small YouTube channel that hasn't yet hit this threshold, it's crap – but not the end of the world. The 10,000 or so watched minutes I get every month earns me a whopping £3-odd, so it's hardly like YouTube's changes are going to leave me on the breadline.
YouTube states that these changes are to "better protect creators" – its Creator Blog states that a big reason for the changes is so "we can prevent bad actors from harming the inspiring and original creators around the world who make their living on YouTube".
Toughening up the requirements for YouTube partners is fine – I get it; YouTube wants to make sure that everyone it's endorsing is a legitimate creator. But surely, with all the controversy that's happened over the last 12 months or so, paying small channels a few dollars is the last thing they should be worrying about. It's the people at the top who it needs to be taking better control of.