YouTube Changes Settings to Help Creators Earn More Money on Old Content

By Devon Glenn 

YouTube creators will have a new way to profit from their existing cache of online videos. Starting November 9, the video-sharing site will automatically apply default monetization settings for new uploads on older, already-monetized content, according to an announcement on the YouTube Creator blog.

Previously, YouTube had given users the option to set defaults for privacy, licensing, tags, and monetization on newly uploaded videos. The company had also rolled out default settings for a new type of video ad format that gives users control over which ads they see.

Now these settings will automatically apply to all videos uploaded prior to April 20, 2012.

“This change will give you more opportunities to make money from your videos,” YouTube senior product manager Steve Stuckengerg advised, “so we encourage you to check your default settings for monetization and ad formats.” The deadline to change or opt out of these settings is November 9.

In June, YouTube announced that thousands of its partners were making more than $100,000 per year from advertising revenue alone. In October, a research firm estimated that the top 1,000 YouTube channels made an average of $276,000 per year.

But those are the top channels. What about the one-hit wonders?

A YouTube user who goes by the alias Rob Shap had signed up for the YouTube Partner Program in March, 2012 when his “Bird Face” video got more than 1.2 million hits. The video was nothing special: it showed a shirtless man with a distorted face, which Shap had created with the help of editing tools on his Macbook Pro. He was just a regular guy who ended up in the “weird part of YouTube,” that guilty pleasure of obsessively clicking from one shocking video to the next, when his video starting turning up in search results for people with deformities.

Seven months later, we caught up with Shap to find out how much money he was making from his ad campaign. About $800, he said, despite the fact that traffic to his video had doubled at more than 2.3 million views since he first signed up.

Clearly, YouTube creators who want to maximize their profits will need all the help they can get.

Image by alexwhite via Shutterstock.