Youtubepartner-224x156Does your video have a million views?  Do you consistently draw large audiences?  This past Thursday, YouTube announced it would throw out old criteria and let anyone with eligible content join the YouTube Partner Program, if they so wished (and are in the list of 20 approved countries).  How does this make it more likely that you can make a few bucks off your short? And how does this announcement play into YouTube's larger strategy?  Read on:

This announcement comes in the midst of a larger shift in YouTube's focus -- rely less on this,

more on this:

The idea is that by emphasizing higher quality content, viewers will be more likely to hang around -- interacting, creating communities, exploring other videos -- not just watching one video and leaving.  The longer a visitor stays on YouTube, the more ads they can sell.  So how does this announcement play into that strategy?

I think they are hoping this will encourage everyone to A) work harder to create better videos, and B) work harder to get other people to watch their videos (and the associated ads).  The effect of thousands of creators pushing their content will give YouTube a nice bump in viewership that will probably offset any lost income from the ad-revenue sharing.

Beyond what Google/YouTube stands to gain, more content creators will get to see some upside.  Till now, the Partner program has favored channel-oriented content -- vlogs, long running web series, instructional series, etc.  You had to prove that you could draw consistent viewerships and that you could maintain a steady stream of content.  Now, instead of having to prove your viability as an audience draw beforehand, you can sign up, upload your video and roll the die.  Whether it's a web series that ends at 10 episodes, or that short film you made, or (of course) that video of your cat barfing on the couch -- you can now opt in for monetization with a click of the button.

Having said all that -- it remains to be seen just how much upside there is.  Most folks who sign up probably won't see more than a few dollars for their effort (1,000 views still won't make you much money).  Will it be worth inconveniencing your viewers with annoying ads if all you get is $15 and change?  Or would you rather build an audience and make your money through other revenue streams?  Content creators will continue figuring this out, and with this new policy I guess we'll see a lot more folks experimenting and trying schemes out.

Now, can you make money off your cat barfing on your couch? Yes.  Can you make money off your cat barfing on your couch to Frank Sinatra's sweet crooning? No (unless you have his express permission).  There are guidelines on content eligible for monetization (as detailed in this FAQ), so make sure you read through them before rushing out to sign up:

Here are some tips on how to be successful at making money on YouTube:

  • Create yourself: YouTube is a place where everyone has a voice and where everyone, whether a newbie videographer or a professional, can be successful. We encourage you to use your imagination to create something completely original. Examples of videos that have been successful on YouTube include daily vlogs and home videos, Do- it-Yourself videos and tutorials, original music videos and short films.
  • Commercial Use rights: Before opting such content into monetization, ensure that you have all the necessary rights to commercially use the content. It’s not uncommon for content creators to clear rights to use third party content on YouTube. Often, this clearance takes the form of explicit written permission from the rights holders.
  • Follow YouTube guidelines: To support your growth and success on YouTube, we expect you to follow YouTube’s Community Guidelines when you create content for YouTube. Following them is a requirement on the site, and will increase the visibility of your content on YouTube which could mean more views, more user engagement and ultimately more revenue.

For the announcement's full details, along with the list of 20 eligible countries, check out the YouTube Creator blog post.

Do you think you'll join?  Is there money to be made here?  Do you think annoyance with ads will impact viewership?  Lots to ponder.

[via The Verge]