In April of 2017, YouTube made some slight adjustments to the Partner Program that had major consequences. They created a minimum threshold of 10k views on a channel before it could even apply for monetization. YouTube could then ensure the channel was following the ever-changing community guidelines and advertiser policies before accepting it into the program. In YouTube’s own words:
Together these new thresholds will help ensure revenue only flows to creators who are playing by the rules.
These changes came after a few months of controversy. In February of 2017, PewDiePie (a very popular content creator) published a video that YouTube decreed as “hate speech.” Shortly afterwards, several major corporations halted their advertising spending on YouTube until the platform cracked down on what they viewed as constroversial content. PewDiePie designated the ensuing revenue instability as the adpocalypse.
These policy changes caused significant revenue cuts for channels of all categories, so much so that YouTube actually issued a statement about a month later that opens with how advertisers are noticing the changes as a good thing:
We know the last month has been really tough for creators after some brands paused their spend on YouTube and we began implementing new advertiser controls. We wanted to update you that we’re making progress. Advertisers are noticing the improvements we’ve made and, as a result, our conversations with them are more positive.