Managing a successful YouTube channel can be a challenge. In many cases, creators sign up to be a part of multi-channel networks, or MCNs, to help make the process a bit easier. The idea is to hold hundreds or even thousands of creators in one place, with the network splitting ad revenue in exchange for achieving higher ad rates.

No matter where you stand on the debate between whether or not these networks are a good thing, it remains true that thousands of creators use them. However, thanks to new policy changes by YouTube, some MCNs are being forced to purge creators and more…

A report today from Polygon discusses the recent trend we’ve been seeing surrounding YouTube creators. In recent weeks, many creators have come out and said that their networks have dropped them. Specifically, many creators formerly partnered with Fullscreen have revealed that they’ve been dropped on Twitter.

These creators were told they had been dropped from the MCN, but weren’t given reasons why. Polygon was told that 160 different creators were dropped from the network on April 5th. Looking further into the situation, it becomes clear that YouTube is pulling the trigger here. In public messages, Howard Pinsky from Fullscreen mentioned:

YouTube is ‘forcing’ all networks to remove creators that are at risk of violating terms of service (copyright issues, misleading thumbnails, etc). This isn’t a decision from the networks, but one from YouTube. They’re really starting to clean up the platform. Fullscreen (and other networks) have zero say in this.

Pinsky wouldn’t verify those mentioned, but Jason Urgo, CEO of SocialBlade mentioned that the messages were referring to a new “Know Your Customer” policy that YouTube has enacted. Update: See comments below for updated statement from Fullscreen.

The new policy, which apparently went into effect in March, effectively forces MCNs to rethink how they handle the content creators under their network. Urgo explains:

[It] in effect forces MCNs to either watch every video uploaded by their partners, or at least be reasonably confident none of the videos they are uploading could possibly either in the present or in the future violate or even come close to violating a YouTube guideline/terms. The way this is enforced is that if a network has more then 50 ‘abuse events’ (an abuse event is when a channel gets terminated or loses their monetization privileges) in a 90 day period they lose the ability to partner any other channel for a period of time. If this 50 in 90 rule is triggered multiple times, the MCN can be revoked.

To summarize, under this new policy, MCNs are basically forced to start purging creators that pose any sort of risk. The “50 in 90” rule could severely restrict these networks, and could even have it shut down. With that in place, removing creators that are less predictable in their content or who often ride the line of what’s acceptable is the smart move.

Unfortunately, that means a lot of creators are being removed without fully knowing why, or perhaps not even doing anything questionable.

In other cases, MCNs are also raising the requirements to join the network. BBTV, one of the largest MCNs today, recently upped its threshold for joining to 100,000 views per month. Other MCN managers who preferred not to be identified mentioned that “thousands” of creators had been dropped as a result of this change. He said that it feels like YouTube is “trying to get rid of MCNs to the point where we can no longer operate.”

Update: Fullscreen has reached out to confirm that the statements sent out to some creators as well as Howard Pinsky’s comment were inaccurate and “premature.” The company’s full statement follows.

On April 5, 2018, a small group of Fullscreen creators received emails that mistakenly implied that modifications to YouTube’s partnership program were the cause of the removal of approximately 160 channels from our network.  That was inaccurate, and we’ve since revised our emails to creators accordingly. 

That revised messaging states: The team here at Fullscreen is reaching out to let you know that your agreement with Fullscreen, Inc. has been terminated. Due to the nature of your uploads and because your uploads may potentially infringe on the right of others or potentially violates applicable laws or regulations, including without limitation YouTube’s Terms of Service and/or YouTube’s Community Guidelines, we feel it best that we part ways. Thank you for your understanding, and good luck with your YouTube channel.

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Ben Schoon

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