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Youtube Ads: Ad-vantage or Ad-pocalypse?

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Whether it’s the first toothless laughter of a newborn child, a colossal crane falling down from a skyscraper, a huge tsunami wave crashing down on helpless bystanders or a viral video of a cat banging drums, it has all been recorded, viewed and marveled upon on a single platform: Youtube. One of the goliaths of the internet cyberspace which dominates traffic, views and revenues. The multi-billion dollar company has been rising through the ranks, breaking records, spreading towards a wider audience with faster optimization and a boatload of features. Yet, it has done little to muffle out the cries of its content creators and customers.

For a couple of years, Youtube has been following an aggressive policy to accumulate views on ads and earnings through Google AdSense. A video which you could previously stream without any hiccups, now has advertisements running before, during and after its streaming. What could be an eventful evening viewing the latest videos from your favorite channel is turned to a button-mashing fest to skip ads and getting to the relevant parts. This ruins the immersion and leads to people like me penning an article to vent about their frustration. Ofcourse, there is a brilliant business strategy governing said changes. The Youtube Red service is the savior they hope for you to look towards. What it offers is an ad-free experience, where you can download content and have it run in the background. And ofcourse, like all the good things in life, it’s a subscription service.

There is another problem with this policy. The monetization of said videos is only provided to family-friendly and purely original content. If, by any chance, your content deviates from the prescribed guidelines, you will lose any earnings you generated from the video. Youtubers have found an entire channel’s worth of videos being copyright stricken and removed. Many, who earned an equivalent of a full-time job, have resorted to selling merchandise, and using sites such as Fiverr and Twitch. This has led to fragmented fanbases who have to find their favorite content creator across multiple platforms. Not only is this highly inconvenient but a great indicator of Youtube’s thoughtless business practices. However, when one set of content creators are disenfranchised, there is always someone lurking in the shadows, collecting the revenue. In this case, we can safely say that Youtube has been favoring larger teams, and companies. The trending section of Youtube often displays videos from Morning shows, talk shows, VEVO, and other MCNs (Multi-Channel Networks).

What are MCNs?

These are companies which have signed thousands of independent Youtube channels. These companies collect the revenue from their videos directly from Youtube. Before, passing it on however, they take their own cut. Their job is to promote these channels, find them better deals, organize meet-ups, and if you are charismatic enough, sign you up for TV shows or advertisements. For you to be a successful channel, you will have to make a deal with the devil, in this case, an MCN. Youtube’s algorithms lean more towards such content because it’s formulaic, safe and consistent. Why show love to a budding content creator, when you have cash cows in your backyard?

However, these deeds do not go unnoticed. Youtube’s viewers and content creators have been very vocal about these issues. With Youtube turning the other cheek to these complaints, these resentments have bubbled up. Recently, Youtube Rewind 2018 became the most disliked video of all time. A milestone indeed. Reasons for this milestone were attributed to a disingenuous social justice stance taken bordering on the themes of empowerment and minority representation as well as negligence shown to the most loved and viewed content creators such as Pewdiepie, Ryan Higa, Good Mythical Morning and many more. If you are ever short of entertainment, venture into the comment section. You will not be disappointed.

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