For some partners, YouTube is both a gift and a curse. The video platform, on one hand, allows creators to host and monetize their content with literally the click of a button. The downside to this — in the monetization department specifically — is YouTube’s complete control of advertiser relationships as well as the Google-owned site’s mandatory 45 percent YouTube, 55 percent creator ad revenue split.
It’s this lack of control created by Google that has many creators seeking hosting options outside of YouTube. Variety reported recently that content provider FremantleMedia North America is removing The Pet Collective Channel — a channel that received funding from Google during the $200 million channel initiative — from YouTube and onto a dedicated site, ThePetCollective.tv. Fremantle won’t be pulling content entirely from YouTube but will instead exclusively air new programming on the dedicated site and Blip Networks.
Fremantle isn’t the first (and won’t be the last) content provider or creator to look beyond Google for hosting options. Earlier this year, Ray William Johnson inked a deal with Blip to launch a new comedy series outside of YouTube.
Entrepreneur and content provider Jason Calacanis echoed the concerns of many creators last month in a blog post where he described YouTube’s 55/45 ad split as “absurd.” Calacanis also spoke to the nature of Google’s relationship with advertisers, saying: “I believe this is a strategy to distance publishers from marketers, putting the publishers under complete control of YouTube.”
Key members of the YouTube community have even come out recently to speak against the platform’s apparent abuse of its creators. Hank Green, the co-creator of the YouTube channel VlogBrothers, recently posted a video claiming that Google is “… completely misinterpreting the power of the medium …” The Green Brothers have since launched a new platform, Subbable, which promises to act as an alternative to YouTube’s advertising model with a set of varying, voluntary subscriptions.
Other major pillars of YouTube have begun shifting away from the site’s ad models as well, including animation and game channel Rooster Teeth. The “Red vs. Blue” creators recently launched a new anime series “RWBY” exclusively on the Rooster Teeth website.
Providing a free-to-watch model for over six years seems to have put YouTube in a position where ad-based monetization is the only sustainable form of revenue for both the site and creators. In an interview with Variety, Adam Sutherland, VP of global strategy for National Geographic Society — creators of one of the first paid YouTube channels — explained that the pay-to-view system was not working. “We had hoped to set the world on fire. We are not setting the world on fire right now,” Sutherland explained. With this, it’s no surprise that creators dissatisfied with YouTube’s revenue models are on the hunt for something better.
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