YouTube creators are already making changes to their channels for fear that they will not be able to make money as the platform begins to implement new boundaries around child-friendly content.
Some of these changes include full names of channels to make them feel less child-oriented, cut out popular series dedicated to toys or games, take up vlogging and specifically switch videos to teens. Basically, these changes change children's content to a slightly older demographic that is not covered by the $ 170 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission for alleged privacy violations.
Because of the settlement, YouTube must stop collecting information about videos targeted at children under 1
Several prominent full-time personalities are already making changes to avoid the potential fallout. Toya from MyFroggyStuff (2.1 million subscribers), Kelli Maple (1.2 million subscribers) and Rob of Art for Kids (1.9 million subscribers) have, among other things, released announcement videos that update their fans about the changes they should expect, including adjustments to both channel titles and content. Their goal is to avoid losing revenue by being swept up in YouTube's broad new category of children's content, which comes into effect on January 1, 2020, while still keeping its fans happy.
"I feel very strongly that we need to make changes here on our channel," says Rob in the video above. “We will only put out art lessons intended for children who are 13 years old and up. Currently, I will leave all of our past lessons on our channel, but eventually these can disappear. We continue to post lessons (for younger children) on our app and on our website.
The biggest and most worrying change for creators can no longer show targeted ads. These ads make up a significant portion of what runs on YouTube channels, said Melissa Hunter, executive director of a family video network, a group working with family bloggers, The Verge . Other changes include that it is not possible to send new video views – which can limit the video's popularity and overall revenue – and comments that are turned off.
Rob says he supports YouTube's decision, but he also has a separate website and app, which includes subscription offers to supplement his income. This is not necessarily true for other creators. Toya, who runs MyFroggyStuff, changes the title of her main channel (along with the names of secondary channels), the style of her thumbnails (which usually have photos on dolls) and even how she describes things (going from "toys") to "thumbnails" "to ensure that content is considered appropriate by YouTube for all ads). Maple, who found out about the changes from Toyota's video, uploaded his own statement on YouTube, explaining that similar changes would be initiated.
"We will add more lifestyle things," Toya told her fans during a live stream. "We will vlogging a little more, we will talk about hair … so yes, vlogging and everything is on the table."
It's a shift for some of her fans who are younger, though Toya said a large portion of her audience is adults, based on information she sees on her internal dashboard. Toys may be labeled by YouTube as something aimed at children, but thanks to mainstream adoption of things like comic book culture and interest in figure collection, the interest extends beyond them, she added.
Many creators who specifically make child-friendly videos left other jobs to work on their YouTube channels full-time. In recent years, advertisers worried about controversial content felt safer with family-friendly videos, making these channels the most lucrative on YouTube. Now, as a result of the FTC shutdown and ongoing restrictions on videos that include or target children, that is changing.
However, it is not only family bloggers and creators who are worried. Game creators have also been worried that YouTube's announcement means that videos involving child-friendly games – such as Minecraft or Roblox – could also have their ads restricted. It is a possible tooth in a massive market. In 2018, more than 311,000 Minecraft videos were uploaded, giving more than 45 billion views, according to analysis company Tubular Insights.
YouTube is still figuring it out, but it sounds like game creators shouldn't worry yet. Dan "DanTDM" Middleton, one of YouTube's most popular game creators, says he was told by YouTube that "videos will not be judged on which game you play (eg Minecraft, Roblox, Fortnite ), "adding that a" family-friendly video is not the same as "for children." It is not based on any specific game title.
YouTube has not yet described exactly what types of videos will be affected or which creators who will need to plan ahead. CEO Susan Wojcicki directed the rocky road forward in a blog post to the creators, noting that these changes "will have a significant business impact on creators of families and children." She added that "this will not be easy for some creators and is committed to working with them through this transition. ”
Toya and Rob are two of these creators preparing for a significant impact on their business, and the only thing left to do is swing.
"For us who have YouTube as a career, it's a little bit harmful," Toya said.