In a move that's been termed as "disastrous" by several YouTubers and influencers, Google is reportedly planning to remove the country-specific ad revenue sharing program (YPP) for India. The announcement was made via an internal company document obtained by Variety India.
The new policy will see YouTube removing the requirement for every creator in India to be verified before they can start receiving money from advertisers. This change comes after months of protests by numerous popular vloggers who have accused Google of being unfair towards local creators. In response to these complaints, Google had promised to review its current practices regarding how it splits up advertising revenues between users based on location. However, this decision seems like it could end up hurting even more people than it helps.
Google also plans to increase the number of videos uploaded per day to 100 hours with the hope of doubling views over the next year or two. It also plans to double video upload speed to 30 Mbps. These changes may help improve user experience but we urge them to reconsider their decision because the way things look right now, it might actually hurt some creators' livelihoods rather than helping them out. Here's why...
At present, around 7,000 channels across various genres receive income from the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). According to data released by YouTube last year, approximately 1% of total subscribers fall into the category of 'partner.' This means that only one channel among thousands receives direct payment from advertisers.
While it’s true that most of these partners aren't making enough money to sustain themselves financially, it would still be wrong to say that they deserve less attention compared to other creators. Many of us agree that while it sucks when someone makes a lot of cash off your work without crediting you, you shouldn't get angry at such instances. But if it happens often enough, then something needs to change.
This should make anyone who works online feel sad about what's happening. Especially since the majority of creators don't earn anything from YTP. And yet, the platform continues to grow exponentially despite having so much room for improvement. With that said, let me try explain my point using an example.
Let's assume I'm a part-time blogger earning $500/month from AdSense alone. My monthly expenses include hosting fees ($80), domain registration ($60), internet bills ($400), taxes ($100), etc. So overall, my net earnings amount to $1040. Now imagine a friend of mine who runs five blogs earns roughly the same amount from Adsense. His monthly expenses including webhosting services, domains, tax payments, and internet bill amounts to around $1,300. Overall his net earnings amount to $650/ month. That's almost half!
So why do I need to mention names instead of figures? Simple. Because our incomes differ dramatically due to different factors ranging from traffic volume to brand awareness. If I were able to drive 10 times more traffic to my blog than him, then he'd definitely be doing better financially than me. He'll probably be running multiple sites with higher pageviews too. Since everything else remains equal, his financial gain will increase proportionally. Why? Simply put, he deserves more credit from his audience for bringing them greater value. Yes, it's hard to compete against big players like Facebook and Twitter.
But competition isn't always bad. There's no denying that both social media giants offer great benefits to their members. They're certainly good platforms, especially when used correctly. What matters here is whether you're getting fair compensation for your effort. Unfortunately, the latter is not the case with YTP.
If you ask Alexa rankings, Voot ranks first among streaming apps in India followed closely by Hotstar. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus are nowhere to be seen. One reason behind this is that unlike major global markets where TV shows and movies are produced exclusively for streaming, the vast majority of originals available in India are meant for television broadcast. Also, none of the aforementioned companies are known specifically for original productions either.
There are also regional variations within each genre. For instance, comedy series are usually preferred over sitcoms because the former offers chances to showcase talent whereas the later doesn't. Meanwhile, reality TV is gaining popularity quickly in India while others prefer scripted formats. Lastly, sports remain untouched thanks to lack of proper infrastructure as well as high production costs.
That being said, there's no doubt that Indians love watching stuff on their mobiles. We spend nearly 4 billion minutes every single month playing games, sending messages, listening to music, and watching short clips every week. Our appetite for entertainment is insatiable. Content creation hasn't evolved at pace with consumption patterns. Hence, the gap between consumption and creation keeps growing bigger.
Another factor contributing largely to low viewership numbers is piracy. Let me elaborate further. Piracy rates in India are significantly lower compared to developed countries like America and Europe. That said, it's still very common to find pirated episodes of popular TV shows on torrent websites. A recent study revealed that 70 percent of respondents admitted downloading copyrighted material. Another survey found 65 percent of participants accessing unauthorized streams during peak hours.
As far as I know, there's nothing illegal about uploading your own creations publicly. However, we've already discussed how copyright laws keep changing rapidly. As a result, it becomes difficult to monitor legal vs. illegal content unless you have access to specialized tools. More importantly, it's impossible for smaller creators to hire lawyers to handle DMCA takedown requests.
Of course, there are hundreds of channels on YouTube that are actively creating awesome content. Yet, many of them struggle to break through the clutter. While it's easy to pinpoint reasons for this, it's harder to suggest solutions. Afterall, the solution lies in figuring out ways to reach audiences effectively. Thankfully, this problem won't persist forever. Over time, we'll witness improvements in technology that will boost engagement levels.
For starters, let's talk about YouTube itself. The service has improved considerably over the years. From UI design to features like comment moderation, the site today looks pretty appealing from a usability perspective. At the same time, however, there are certain parts of the app that haven't changed meaningfully in quite some time. This includes comments section customization options, notifications, search filters, etc.
Also, there's no guarantee that you'll enjoy similar quality of life when you create videos on other platforms like TikTok, Instagram Stories, Snapchat, WhatsApp, etc. Moreover, you need skills to master creative elements like editing, graphics, animation, sound effects, voice overs, etc. All these factors combine together to form unique selling points of content creators working independently.
Lastly, let's talk about targeted advertisements. Advertising is essential for sustaining a business model. Without sponsorships from brands, creators cannot afford to live off their passion full-time. Still, the process of reaching potential customers is flawed. Most marketers rely heavily on automated systems that fail to recognize contextually relevant content properly. Therefore, they end up displaying irrelevant ads to viewers.
Unfortunately, YouTube suffers from similar issues. Its algorithm tends to show random recommendations to viewers. Not everyone wants to watch funny cat videos or cute dog GIFS. Some want educational tips on makeup techniques or DIY recipes. Others simply want to check the weather forecast. On top of that, machine learning algorithms tend to target specific demographics which leads to unwanted bias.
All these problems lead to poor consumer experiences on YouTube. To solve this issue, Google recently announced that it will soon roll out a feature called Smart Replies powered by AI. The tool will display personalized responses whenever you type a keyword related to the product or service. Like Gmail's smart replies, these suggestions will adapt depending upon the context.
However, the rollout hasn't begun yet, and it's unclear how long the beta version will stay active for. Regardless, it's safe to predict that this feature will eventually improve your experience on YouTube.
According to estimates provided by SocialBlade, there are currently 3 million accounts registered on Indian versions of YouTube. Of these, 2.5 million belong to individual users while remaining 500k belongs to small channels. Around 900K of them receive money directly from YouTube.
The news broke last week when a popular YouTuber with over 1.5 million subscribers was informed by YouTube that their channel would need to meet certain criteria before they could start receiving revenue from advertising.
This comes as no surprise given that one of YouTube's biggest challenges is how to make money off content created by independent creators who do not have access to the same distribution networks or media partners. For this reason, many established creators like PewDiePie use third-party services such as Patreon to leverage his popularity into monetary returns while smaller creators often struggle to find ways to earn enough income even after years of consistent growth.
But what does this mean for Indian YouTubers specifically? Can we expect similar regulations soon? And if so, what impact can these new rules have on them? We reached out to several experts across the country to ask questions about whether monetizing videos on YouTube requires prior approval and certification in India, and to see what kind of financial rewards can be expected from doing so. Here’s what we found.
First things first – yes, you should absolutely try your luck at making some extra cash online using YouTube. But there are two important caveats here – you have to follow guidelines set forth by Google (and other platforms) and also comply with local laws. In general, however, most countries don't require specific approvals and certifications to run a business online, so it shouldn't be too hard to navigate once you're ready to take action. The only thing holding you back right now might be the lack of awareness around monetized video creation.
"It depends on where your audience resides," says Raja Dhir, founder & CEO, Digital Vidya Institute, "If your target market is in US then you may want to consider applying for monetisation." He adds that people usually look towards celebrities and influencers to build up brand value and trust among consumers. So while brands aren't interested in sponsoring small channels yet, big names already benefit from branding deals that help increase sales.
In terms of legalities though, Dhir notes that there isn't really anything stopping anyone from creating a branded video series and putting advertisements against it since the person behind the camera doesn't represent the company. It's always best to check with government authorities and regulatory bodies in your region to know specifics about licensing and compliance procedures.
That being said, there's been plenty of discussion lately regarding the possibility of monetising YouTube videos. According to latest reports, it looks likely that any creator earning a six figure annual salary won't receive any benefits, including adverts, from YouTube itself unless they pass certain tests. This means that instead of getting a cut of every click that goes through their videos' associated links, advertisers will pay directly to YouTube based on metrics such as view count, watch time, etc.
While this may seem unfair for regular users, it actually helps keep prices low for producers whose main source of income is through commissions. Since they're not entitled to any additional compensation beyond what the viewer gets, the price per impression remains stable for both parties — meaning viewers get great quality entertainment without needing to worry about annoying popup dialogues, and creators stay safe from scammers, bots, trolls, and fake traffic spikes. If you decide to go ahead with monetization anyway, make sure to read our guide on avoiding common pitfalls.
Another point worth noting is that YouTubers are currently required to obtain authorizations for each country they wish to publish content in. While this ensures consistency between regions, it can also lead to delays due to red tape and long processing times. However, according to Dhir, this requirement seems to vary depending on the type of work the producer wishes to create. For example, he explains that someone working exclusively in comedy segments wouldn't be held responsible for obtaining authorization certificates but rather focus on building a strong fan base locally.
There hasn't been too much talk about whether the situation will change anytime soon. One recent article speculated that the process of gaining official recognition in different areas could become automated eventually. A spokesperson from YouTube told us that the platform plans to roll out tools later this year to streamline the verification process. Until then, everyone is left waiting patiently for further updates.
So far, the policy implemented by YouTube involves verifying various factors related to the size of a subscriber base, channel activity, number of comments received, engagement rates, and overall viewing statistics. As mentioned earlier, these checks are designed to ensure maximum transparency and fairness for both sides involved. To put it simply, if a user watches five minutes of your video, clicks play again immediately, and leaves another comment, you'll probably be eligible for monetization sooner than you think.
As for the actual steps needed to achieve this goal, it varies slightly based on the product offered. Generally speaking, you must complete three basic tasks:
1. Create original and unique high-quality videos.
2. Build an engaged community via interactions within social media, forums, blogs, etc.
3. Collect relevant personal information from viewers, such as name, gender, date of birth, phone numbers, emails, home address, credit card details, etc.
These are pretty standard practices used by most major tech giants, except perhaps Facebook and Twitter. Even so, it's still worth pointing out that none of these companies share full control of the data collected by end-users. Users can opt out of targeted ads whenever they'd like, and delete their profiles completely. On the contrary, YouTube collects info that affects users personally but cannot be deleted easily. Not disclosing privacy issues is part of the service agreement signed by users, but it's something that needs constant monitoring and attention to detail.
Unfortunately, exact figures are difficult to calculate because the amount differs widely depending on the context. View counts typically refer to total impressions, i.e., the number of individual pageviews generated by a single advertisement placement, whereas revenues tend to be calculated based on CPM (cost per thousand) pricing. That being said, the average cost of placing an advert on YouTube can range anywhere from $0.02 to $20 per 1000 views.
According to estimates cited by Digiday, the average monthly earnings for a mainstream vlogger who receives 30 percent commission on sponsored views is approximately $9000. By comparison, a typical gaming streamer makes roughly $3000 per month, although that includes perks like merchandise giveaways, subscriptions, donations, sponsorships, and bonuses. Of course, the latter category brings with it added difficulties such as managing expectations properly, dealing with trolls, spamming chat rooms, coordinating live events, and countless other issues.
India's largest video-sharing website is no longer a free service or a haven where anyone can upload videos without censorship or fear of being penalized by the algorithm.
In an update on January 23, 2021, YouTube announced that it would be revising its monetisation policy and allowing platforms like itself to place ads on "any channel" rather than only those who agree to terms of publisher program (YPP). This means everyone from individual creators to companies that run their own networks of YouTube channels could get paid if they wanted to advertise products or services on these channels — with some caveats.
The policy change comes after years of complaints about how YouTube was treating Indian users, especially when it came to demonetised accounts and copyright violations. The new changes seem to have been prompted by such concerns as well as allegations of sexual abuse made against popular vlogger Elisha Noori. It also comes at a time when several other social media sites including Facebook and Twitter already do this in India.
So what exactly is the impact of this decision and what are the implications of this move for YouTuber income? We spoke to several prominent creators to find out.
According to data provided by SocialBlade, there were around 21 million monthly active subscribers of YouTube in India last year. While most people probably aren't aware of it, almost every big creator on YouTube has multiple channels. For instance, Tollywood actor Ravi Kishan has over 400 different channels ranging from comedy to music to drama.
Given this huge number of independent channels, we asked two top YouTubers based in India, one with 50K+ subs and another with 15M+ subs, how many channels they had created. Both said between 25-30. And both agreed that while they make money off original content too, they primarily earn revenue via advertisements placed across their various channels.
For example, Deepshika says she earns anywhere between $2-3 lakh per month from her online presence, but she doesn't consider herself a full-time vlogger because she takes breaks during monsoons and winters. But she still makes enough money to support herself and her family back home without needing a regular job.
But even though advertisers might want to reach audiences beyond the ones who subscribe to them directly, this may prove difficult since most of these large creators don't use the same account across all their channels. This means each one needs to create separate profiles for each network.
One YouTuber explained why he prefers this approach. He told us that his fans know him better as one person, so creating multiple accounts would confuse them. Also, having separate accounts helps him manage his personal life and professional relationships with others.
He added that he isn't going to stop making original videos anytime soon either, but the bulk of his earnings now come from adverts. His company runs five different YouTube channels, each with hundreds of thousands of followers.
While you won't see numbers quoted widely yet, this information exists. According to Google AdWords Trends, the average cost per impression (CPM) for search advertising in India stood at Rs 4,400 ($61.6) in Q4 2019. In comparison, CPMs in US stand at $35.32 and UK stands at £25.24. So, for Indians, getting eyeballs on your advertisement is definitely expensive.
However, despite the high costs involved, YouTube pays fairly well compared to other similar platforms. Last year, Digital Marketing Consultant Rajesh Jain calculated that YouTube gives advertisers approximately 70% of the total value of an engagement.
This means that if someone watches 30 seconds of a three minute video, then YouTube gets approximately 21 minutes worth of attention. Even if viewers watch the whole thing, YouTube keeps 80 percent of the pie.
Also, according to market research firm Magna Research, the average consumer spends 7 hours watching videos daily. With this kind of spending power, advertisers should expect decent returns on their investments.
As mentioned earlier, however, the amount earned per view varies significantly depending upon location. A study conducted by marketing agency VCCircle found that the median CPC [cost per click] for mobile display ads in India is as low as Rs 3 ($0.45), whereas desktop ads carry higher rates.
VCCircle further notes that there is significant variation among publishers within India. Some publishers charge as little as Rs 2 ($0.30) per CPM, while others command up to Rs 20 ($2.8).
Another variable is the type of product/service advertised. If it is gaming related, for instance, advertisers would likely demand a lower rate than non-gaming brands.
There is no official metric for YouTube views in India. However, the closest equivalent measure available is 1K Views Per Day (1K VPd). This refers to the number of unique visitors who watched a video for 10 continuous days.
With this definition, it is easier to compare revenues generated from smaller channels versus larger channels. So, let's take two examples. Say Deepshikha and Arpit Agarwal are among the biggest names in the country with 500K+ subs and 100K+ subs respectively. Let's say both of them produce videos with equal quality and viewership potential. Then, 1KVPD will be roughly comparable for both of them.
Now, let's look at some lesser known YouTubers and assume that they're producing good stuff. Here's an imaginary scenario. Say Prashant Mistry creates 5 different channels with 5K+, 8K+, 6K+, 10K+, and 12K+ subs respectively. Each of these channels produces videos with equal quality and viewership potential. Now, here's something interesting. Based on our calculations, here's how much Mistry would earn from 1KVPP of each subscriber base assuming that he advertises products in his videos.
5K Subscribers = $15 ($1.50 x 5K = $7.50)
8K Subscribers = $23 ($2.33 x 8K= $17.66)
6K Subscribers = $18 ($1.75 x 6K = $11.25)
10K Subscribers = $27 ($2.50 x 10K = $20)
12K Subscribers = $36 ($3.44 x 12K = $30)
That shows how quickly the bigger numbers add up! Of course, this calculation assumes that the viewer count is proportional to subscription size, which is usually not true.
To illustrate, I checked whether the aforementioned YouTuber Prashant Mistry himself follows this rule. When I searched for his name on TikTok, I got over 18.5 million results. On Instagram, I didn't receive any response. All of his posts were deleted. So, it seems unlikely that a user subscribing to his main channel would follow him on other platforms.
Nevertheless, if we apply the above formula to his hypothetical case, we'll discover that a single subscriber with 12K+ subs adds up to $36 in annual income. That's pretty impressive.
Advertisers often ask how long they need to wait before seeing benefits from their campaigns. They want assurance that their investment into YouTube will yield positive ROI sooner rather later. Well, YouTube provides a rough estimate of this ratio in its latest announcement.
It states that advertisers can start showing ads immediately after placing orders. Moreover, it says that YouTube will provide "advertiser-friendly metrics." These include, among others, impressions, clicks, and completion rates.
Although YouTube hasn't disclosed the exact figures, it did reveal the approximate percentage of payout for each action taken. As noted earlier, this depends upon the category of advertiser, the nature of campaign etc., but in general, the payout ratio is expected to be close to 70%.
If we take the previous example again, applying this equation reveals that Prashant Mistry would earn around INR 84 lakh ($1.21 Lakh) annually from one single subscriber with a 12K+ subscriber base.
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