April 6, 2017 / 9:48 PM / 8 months ago

YouTube tweaks ad strategy to curb content stealing

(Reuters) - Alphabet Inc’s GOOGL.O YouTube said on Thursday it would place ads on channels only if they reach 10,000 views as it tries to weed out people who make money on the site by stealing content from other sources.

FILE PHOTO: A picture illustration shows a YouTube logo reflected in a person's eye June 18, 2014. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

The video streaming service also said once a video channel crosses the threshold, it would review the content to see if it qualifies for the placement of ads. (bit.ly/2o7vqI2)

“By keeping the threshold to 10k views, we also ensure that there will be minimal impact on our aspiring creators,” Ariel Bardin, YouTube’s vice president of product management, said in a blog post.

YouTube has come under intense scrutiny for ads appearing alongside videos carrying homophobic or anti-Semitic messages, prompting a number of companies to suspend their digital ads on the video streaming service.

The company vowed an overhaul of its practices last month, saying it has started an extensive review of its advertising policies.

While brands have demanded greater control over the videos where their ads appear, the step taken by YouTube this week is likely too small to allay those concerns, said analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research.

“Most of these (extremist) videos are going to get more viewers than that anyway,” Dawson said of the 10,000-view threshold set by YouTube. “They’re popular among the particular audience that they are targeting.”

YouTube also said on Thursday that in a few weeks it would add a review process for new creators who apply to be in the YouTube Partner Program, which lets creators monetize content on YouTube in many ways, including advertisements, paid subscriptions and merchandise.

Any revenue earned on channels with under 10,000 views up until Thursday will not be impacted, YouTube said.

As it grapples with the advertiser revolt, YouTube must walk a fine line between giving advertisers more control and alienating the creators who drive the site’s popularity, analysts say.

While some fear small creators could be hurt by restrictions, the 10,000-view threshold is so low that it will not hamper any people who make a living from their channels, said Jonathan Katz, an entertainment lawyer who represents YouTube artists. Creators understand that YouTube must protect its image to retain the ad dollars they depend on, he said.

“As frustrated as (creators) might be with the YouTube ecosystem at times, they understand that their fates are tied,” he said.

Reporting by Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru and Julia Love in San Francisco; editing by Anil D'Silva and Dan Grebler

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