YouTube made its video creators & owners an offer they literally couldn’t refuse, or they’d have their content disappear. Today YouTube confirmed that any creator that 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’s a tough pill to swallow that makes YouTube look like a bully. Though turning existing fans into paid subscribers instead of free viewers could earn creators more than the ad revenue, forcing them into the deal seems heavy-handed.
According to Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl at today’s YouTube Red launch event, 99% of content consumed on YouTube will be still available, noting that the vast majority of creators signed the deal. But they didn’t have much choice, otherwise they’d lose out on both the previous ad revenue, the new subscription revenue, and the connection with fans.
Kyncl says YouTube will pay out “the vast, vast majority of revenue” out to creators, but he repeatedly refused to detail what that percentage would be. Subscriptions music service Spotify pays 70% and Apple Music pays 71.5%. Earlier this year, a change to YouTube Partner Program Terms said creators would be paid just 55% of revenue. That would be comparatively low.
The money will be split up according to watch time, so creators with longer videos could benefit more than quick clip producers. It’s also unclear how Google Play Music rights holders will be impacted. If the same percentage or lower of subscription revenue is now split between music makers and YouTubers, each stands to get paid less.
Google has been criticized before for using its massive reach innappropriately, especially around how Google+ and Google Places have received priority in search results. Now it’s clear that YouTube is prioritizing what it calls a “consistent” user experience where content is always available in its free and paid service over the wishes of the content owners themselves.
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