YouTube tightens rules on brands directly approaching content creators

YouTube has declared that brands must go through Google to work with its content creators and not approach them directly.

“Graphical title cards, including the use of sponsor logos and product branding, are prohibited unless there is a full Google media buyout on the Partner content by the sponsor,” said the YouTube FAQ. The document also states that YouTube creators will not be permitted to include “promotions, sponsorships or other advertisements for third party sponsors or advertisers in their videos where YouTube offers a comparable ad format.”

If content creators choose to carry forth with this, YouTube will have the right to disable monetisation and remove the videos, said the company.

Marketing has reached out to Google APAC to see what the practice for the region would be. Google was unable to respond at the time of writing.

Meanwhile, a YouTube spokesperson told Digiday, said the revision was “a clarification of its existing policy” which was issued to prevent conflicts amongst advertisers and not overwhelm viewers with ads.

Digital industry watchers have mixed responses to YouTube's move.

Keith Timimi, chairman of VML, said this might just be another push for the platforms monetisation."There is a fine line between controlling the quality of the viewership experience and getting greedy around money. This feels more like greed than good to me," said Timimi.

Freda Kwok, principal consultant at QED Consulting however, said that the move had its benefits.

"Currently there are many brands working directly with content producers. Some of these brands have more blatant approaches to their content creation than others. While this reduces incentives for content productions by taking a larger cut of the content creators earnings, the potential upside is that hopefully, this will encourage brands to be even more genuine in their collaboration," said Kwok.  This might ultimately lead to more valuable content rather than brands simply utilising YouTube as another commercial advertisement feature.

Last year YouTube made a huge investment in placing its content creators in the limelight. In a first for the online video channel, it decided to market its most popular content-creators offline. This is aimed at pushing their demand online. YouTube advertised on traditional media such as billboards, subway ads, and local TV spots in The States and Tokyo.

"We’re hoping [this] will drive more traffic to their channels, and encourage more people to subscribe to their channels in the longer term. We’re constantly looking at ways to promote, showcase and celebrate the work of our creators, whether it’s through marketing campaigns like Comedy Week or our investments in the YouTube Spaces in LA, London and Tokyo,” the spokesperson had then told Marketing.