“We’re working to identify advertisers who are interested in edgier content, like a marketer looking to promote an R-rated movie, so we can match them with creators whose content fits their ads,” Wojcicki wrote in her quarterly letter to video creators. “In its first month, this program resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in ads on yellow icon videos.” The icon appears next to the names of creators whose videos are “demonetized” so as not to make it appear that YouTube is attempting to wring revenue from less-than-squeaky-clean videos.
YouTube posted the letter as a blog and also put it on the platform in video form (watch it above).
The platform has faced criticism from major brands – and a chorus of I-told-you-so’s from traditional TV networks – for its programmatic advertising tools that sometimes place ads next to objectionable content. The company has continued to expand its ad revenue but still faces questions about “brand safety.”
While professional suppliers – from networks to athletes to chefs to major consumer brands – continue to pump content through YouTube, its beating heart is its large and growing creator community. The number of creators with a million or more subscribers is up 65% over last year, Wojcicki said. The number of creators earning a five- or six-figure annual income, she said, has risen 40%.
Wojcicki mentioned changes coming in 2020 to the way YouTube treats data for children’s content. The changes are part of a settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the New York Attorney General.
“In order to identify content made for kids, we recently implemented a new audience setting where creators must designate whether their content is made for kids,” the letter said. “Starting in January, certain features that rely on user data, such as comments and personalized advertising, will no longer be available on content made for kids. We know there are still many questions about how this is going to affect creators and we’ll provide updates as possible along the way.”