Business keeps growing for YouTube creators, with channels topping 1 million subscribers nearly doubling in the first year and the number of creators earning at least five figures growing by more than 40 percent. That’s according to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki‘s quarterly letter to creators published Tuesday (Feb. 5).
Elsewhere, Wojcicki highlighted the company’s battle against Article 13 of the European Union Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market currently approaching its final stages of becoming law. The legislation would require user-generated content platforms like YouTube to conclude “fair remuneration deals” with rights holders and hold them legally liable for hosting unlicensed content — effectively ending safe harbor immunity. In response, YouTube has rallied its creators to speak out in opposition, fearful of consequences it might have on their use of the platform and incomes, as a result.
“A big thank you to all the creators who helped bring attention to the unintended consequences of the proposal — one that threatens the livelihoods of so many creators in Europe and around the world — through your videos, stories, op-eds and shared ideas,” wrote Wojcicki. “You’ve proven to be an influential voice in the debate.” As proof, she pointed to anti-Article 13 that had received hundreds of millions of views and a near-record 4.6 million signatures on a Change.org petition.
“That awareness you created was critical, since it was clear to me last year when meeting with policymakers in Strasbourg that many of them had heard from large companies, but lacked an understanding of the European creator economy’s impact and size,” she continued. “I shared with legislators the huge economic benefit you all bring to your home countries. In France alone, we have more than 190 channels with more than 1 million subscriptions, with the number of E.U. channels reaching that milestone up 70% year over year.”
Noting that Article 13 could be decided in the next few weeks, Wojcicki encouraged creators to keep speaking out against the legislation.
On a lighter note, Wojcicki addressed the backlash to YouTube’s 2018 Rewind video, which became the platform’s most-disliked video in history. “Even at home, my kids told me our 2018 Rewind was “‘cringey,'” she said. “We hear you that it didn’t accurately show the year’s key moments, nor did it reflect the YouTube you know. We’ll do better to tell our story in 2019.”
She also noted YouTube Music and YouTube Premium’s expansion to 29 countries, up from just five at the beginning of 2018. She lauded improved advertisement classifiers, leading to 40 percent increased accuracy to YouTube’s monetization icon and other advancements in the advertiser/creator ecosystem, while promising to keep working on this space. And Ariana Grande‘s “thank u, next” video received an honorable mention, as well, raking in 829,000 unique viewers watching and interacting simultaneously to make for YouTube’s biggest Premiere yet — a feature introduced last year.
Other new features include Super Chat, Channel Memberships, Merchandise, Ticketing and Merch shelf access, while lowering the subscriber threshold on channel memberships from 100,000 to 30,000.