YouTube Will Now Serve Ads On Channels That Aren’t Eligible For Its Partner Program — Though Creators Won’t Earn A Cut

By 11/18/2020
YouTube Will Now Serve Ads On Channels That Aren’t Eligible For Its Partner Program — Though Creators Won’t Earn A Cut

Per the first update to its Terms Of Service since last December, YouTube said it will begin running ads on brand-safe channels that don’t yet meet the criteria for its Partner Program (YPP), which endows eligible creators with the ability to collect ad revs from their videos.

“We’ll begin slowly rolling out ads on a limited number of videos from channels not in YPP,” reads the updated TOS, as spotted by Variety — noting that these channels still won’t be eligible to earn a cut of any ad revs.

In a blog post accompanying the new TOS, YouTube said the decision to run ads on non-YPP channels is “part of our ongoing investment in new solutions, like Home Feed ads, that help advertisers responsibly tap into the full scale of YouTube to connect with their audiences and grow their businesses.”

In order to be eligible for the YPP, creators must have at least 1,000 subscribers and have accrued 4,000 hours of watch time within the year prior to their application. (YouTube introduced these new thresholds in 2018 amid brand safety concerns precipitated by the Adpocalypse). While ineligible creators won’t see any revenues from ads on their videos, YouTube stated on its blog that these creators “can still apply to YPP once they hit the eligibility criteria.”

The second major change to YouTube’s TOS is that, going forward, all payments from YouTube to U.S. creators — including from the YPP, channel memberships, and Super Chats — will now be classified as ‘royalties’ for U.S. tax purposes. Royalties refer to payments by one party (YouTube) to another party that owns an asset (creators) for ongoing use of that asset. Accordingly, YouTube notes that it could be required to withhold taxes from future payments. That said, creators should remain “generally unaffected” by the change so long as they provide the appropriate documentation in AdSense, YouTube said.

The change to payments as royalties — as well as all of the other TOS updates — will roll out internationally by the middle of next year, YouTube says.

The final TOS change is added language to more explicitly state what was already true — that users are barred from collecting or harvesting any facial recognition data on YouTube. “Our Terms of Service already expressly state that you are not allowed to ‘collect or harvest any information that might identify a person (for example, usernames), unless permitted by that person’,” the company explained. “This has always included facial recognition data, and with today’s updated Terms of Service, we are making that explicitly clear.”

You can check out detailed explanations about all of the aforementioned updates in a YouTube help forum post right here.