YouTube says it has managed to make 99 percent of content on its video platform available through its ad-free subscription program, but it didn’t allow creators much of a say in the matter.
TechCrunch reports that “YouTube confirmed any “partner” creator who earns a cut of ad revenue but doesn’t agree to sign its revenue share deal for its new YouTube Red $9.99 ad-free subscription will have their videos hidden from public view on both the ad-supported and ad-free tiers.”
That means just about any YouTuber whose channel is popular enough to earn them money through ads was forced to choose between falling in line with the new revenue-share model and not having their videos distributed through YouTube at all.
It’s unclear how much of a cut creators will get through the new program. Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl said YouTube will pay them “the vast, vast majority of revenue” but didn’t specify an exact percentage.
Plus, payouts will be determined by watch time, so creators with longer videos could stand to earn more than those who make short clips. The deal doesn’t apply to amateur users who don’t yet have a major following on YouTube.
It may not have been easy for YouTube to sign on creators any other way. That’s not reason enough to arm-twist them into a deal they may or may not entirely comfortable with.
Update: A YouTube spokesperson said, “Creators have been asking us to launch a subscription service — so that, combined with user demand, is why we built the service and why the overwhelming majority of our partners, representing nearly 99% of the content watched on YouTube, have signed up.”