Now is the time for the content creators. Every time a bell rings, a millennial gets a computer/smartphone/iPhone and begins creating content. From Gifs, pictures, videos to blogs, content is being created and spread throughout the world with the help of a little old thing called the internet. Youtube has become the Hollywood hills where all the content creator kings and queens have reached the top. What began as a simple vlog or weekly sketch has catapulted many to endorsement deals, commercials, and even movie roles. But with great privilege comes great responsibility. And by responsibility, I mean requirements by advertisers.
Since its inception in 2005 by three former Paypal employees, Youtube has been the place for users to view and upload free video content. While some revenue is earned from Google Red subscriptions, the majority of the revenue for this Google subsidiary is from ads targeted to certain users based on content. In 2015 Bloomberg projected Youtube to reach revenues close to $13 billion in 2017. In order to reach such numbers, Youtuber’s are incentivized to create content daily if not weekly and provide family-friendly content that advertisers would like to monetize.
With the likes of Youtubers like Markiplier, Andrea’s Choice and Pewdiepie that work full time as content creators on Youtube, it is safe to say they have the whole thing figured out: make videos that you know your audience likes. There are thousands of people making video game walkthroughs, makeup tutorials, DIY videos, and vlogs. What keeps viewers coming back to see certain Youtubers is the uniqueness that each creator brings, and that to some can be considered an art. What happens when these Youtubers feel like their content that once came from an almost organic place becomes driven by ad revenue?
Advertisers are looking for more family-friendly content on their channels and are monitoring the video topics and language to ensure Advertisers approve and many pics are pushed to audiences by the Trending bar. These changes have resulted in subscriber and views to drop, even for the heavy hitters as they must choose between toning down what makes them “them” or what makes them money to pay the bills. Your favorite vlogger that never hesitated to drop a couple of bombs sponsored by the letter “F” may tone down their language. Your favorite Makeup guru just went from weekly videos to 3 a week, sometimes 4. There have been quite a few videos posted by unhappy Youtubers on the topics such as Philip Defranco who starts each daily broadcast with a big smile and the phrase “What’s up you beautiful bastards”. It’s a warm and funny greeting Defranco’s nearly five million subscribers probably look forward to hearing every day. But when the ‘Youtube potty-mouth brigade’ began cleaning up the language, Defranco reached out to his viewers with a video littered with a few of those four, five and seven letter words as he described his anxiety about the “censorship”.
Sometimes we have to give the people what they want, no matter what industry you work. If you work in sales or retail, sometimes you have to push certain products to make your sales goal. Not every journalist writes about what they want when they want. It is usually given to you by an editor and you are given a deadline and sometimes a vague outline of what to include or talking points. On Youtube, if you are using the platform as your employment, you have to provide certain content to make the advertisers happy; but the conundrum is how do you give YouTube advertisers what they want while keeping your viewers happy as well. For YouTubers who have quit their day jobs to tube full-time, it literally comes down to your money or your morals.