Category Archives: YouTube Creators

The Official YouTube Partners and Creators Blog

Breaking down barriers to VR

YouTube is where people go to experience VR videos. With over one million VR videos and experiences, YouTube VR offers a diverse library of immersive content for everyone to enjoy and explore the world from a new perspective.

But to make VR for everyone, we have to continue breaking down barriers on how people create and watch VR content on YouTube. To do this, we’re focused on offering YouTube VR on even more platforms, celebrating award-winning VR content and improving creator education programs.

Offering YouTube VR on even more platforms


Since the initial launch of the YouTube VR app in November 2016, we’ve been focused on bringing the app to as many people with a VR headset as possible. It’s already available on Daydream View, HTC Vive, Playstation VR, Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Go and Oculus Rift. And when Oculus Quest becomes available on Tuesday, May 21, the YouTube VR app will be available as a launch title.

Celebrating award-winning VR content on YouTube


VR allows creators to transport their audiences to new, amazing and even impossible places. We’ve partnered with creators to bring immersive experiences to YouTube. And, over the last six months, these VR videos have been recognized with a number of standout awards, including Emmy®, Webby and Streamy awards.



Baobab Studios recently nabbed multiple Emmy® awards for the animated short film, “Crow: The Legend VR.” With a star-studded cast  including John Legend, Oprah, Liza Koshy and Constance Wu  this immersive short film is animated VR content at its best.



But the Emmy® awards didn’t stop there. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory won an Emmy® for their “Cassini's Grand Finale 360°” videos and NASA's first 360° livestream. These 360-degree videos transport viewers to space, unlocking an out-of-this-world experience.



Isle of Dogs: Behind the Scenes (in Virtual Reality)” won two Webby Awards and the Clio Entertainment Gold award. The immersive video takes the audience behind-the-scenes of the film, featuring on-set interviews with the cast and an inside look at the unique craft of stop-motion animation.

Improving creator education through the YouTube VR Creator Lab


As part of our efforts to continue democratizing VR content creation, we’re currently accepting applications for the European edition of the YouTube VR Creator Lab. This three-month, learning and production intensive helps creators embrace YouTube’s VR180 format.

Selected participants get to attend a three-day boot camp at a YouTube Space and receive advanced education from leading VR instructors and filmmakers, ongoing mentoring, a shiny VR180 camera to keep, and $20,000 USD in funding toward the production of their dream projects.



Since the program launched in 2017, we’ve hosted six YouTube VR Creator Labs with over 60 creators across the globe in Los Angeles, London and Tokyo. Participants have gone on to win Emmy and Streamy awards for their VR content created during the lab.

We’re excited to see where VR will bring us next!

Posted by Julia Hamiton Trost, Head of VR/AR Content & Partnerships, who recently watched “Cirque du Soleil's VOLTA Hair Suspension in VR180,” and Kurt Wilms, Product Lead, VR, who recently watched “Engineering for Mars: Building the Mars 2020 Mission (360 video)



Creator Summit: What 6 creators had to say

Photos by Alexander Stein

Over the past couple days, we hosted our fifth annual North American Creator Summit, where we brought together over a hundred of our most influential creators and artists for inspirational conversations. It was candid, it was fun, and there was a lot of latte art. From burning questions posed to YouTube Leadership to meaningful discussions with peers, the creators and artists who joined us fostered a special kind of community this year. There was energy and excitement in the air that was palpable and spirited, which gave the rollerskating extravaganza extra pizzazz.

We caught up with a few creators right after Susan Wojcicki (CEO), Neal Mohan (CPO) and Robert Kyncl (CBO) spoke about how creators and artists are the very heart of YouTube.

“The Internet’s always going to be asking for more, but hearing them talk about it in person — their steps and plans, what they’re planning to do to fix it, and how many people are part of the team to work on very specific issue — it’s comforting to hear them say that and know that they’re on our side,” said Lily Hevesh, the domino artist behind Hevesh5.

Interviews have been condensed for clarity.

Sam Tsui performing at Creator Summit (Photo by Alexander Stein)

Sam Tsui


Sam Tsui is a singer-songwriter who’s been on YouTube since August 2011.
YouTube: Favorite part so far?
Sam Tsui: It’s incredible to have the face-to-face with YouTube, with Susan [Wojcicki], and all the people who make this platform possible. There’s a lot to learn and a lot to know. … It’s always so amazing that YouTube wants us to come out and hear what we think, give us a heads up on what’s coming and all that good stuff. … Between that and all the fun activities, it’s totally amazing, overwhelming, and a ton of fun.
YouTube: Key takeaway after hearing Susan, Neal and Robert on stage?
Sam Tsui: [It’s] wonderful to hear how healthy the platform is. The statistics about the number of creators who have over one million subs is growing, and the engagement, and the fact that this is, as ever, the place for the kind of stuff you want to be doing.
Natalie and Dennis (Photo by Nesrin Danan)

Natalie & Dennis Show

Natalie and Dennis got married in December 2017 after six years of dating. Natalie also has her own separate channel called Natalies Outlet.
YouTube: Favorite part so far?
Natalie: It’s such an honor to be in a room full of some of the most powerful people on the Internet. Especially having the speakers come in and talk to you so genuinely, and without a third wall and so real. Sometimes I think we get caught up in the business of YouTube, and it all comes down to the passion.
Dennis: The hospitality is always so nice. We always have packages when we arrive. We feel cared for.
YouTube: Key takeaway after hearing Susan, Neal and Robert on stage?
Natalie: Sometimes you don’t really see what they’re doing behind-the-scenes. You just think, “Oh, they represent YouTube.” But they really did show that they’re working on policies. They’re working on making sure as creators, we’re continuing to monetize. It’s nice to see that they’re so caring and they answered real questions, even though [the questions are] kind of hot sometimes.

Hyunee (Photo by Nesrin Danan)

Hyunee Eats

Hyunee’s mukbang channel has 1.2 million subscribers, and this is her first year at Creator Summit.

YouTube: Key takeaway after hearing Susan, Neal and Robert on stage?
Hyunee Eats: We complain a lot about the faults that they have, but knowing that they’re working hard to improve everything and actually seeing them talk to us in person has helped us learn about what they actually do behind-the-scenes. ... They’re like real people, like us.

Lily Hevesh (far right) Photo by Alexander Stein

Lily Hevesh of Hevesh5

Lily Hevesh has been making domino art videos since 2009. This is also her first Creator Summit!

YouTube: Favorite part so far?
Lily Hevesh: I don’t really get the opportunity to meet other people who make videos for a living, so bringing all the top creators in one room is super exciting.
YouTube: Key takeaway after hearing Susan, Neal and Robert on stage?
Lily Hevesh: Just seeing them in person and hearing them speak — to me, it felt like they really do deeply care about the creators, fans and advertisers. And they’re trying their best to please all of them. While there are lots of issues with the site, they’re working as hard as they can to try and solve them.

MissRemiAshten (Photo by Nesrin Danan)

MissRemiAshten

Remi Cruz is a 23-year-old lifestyle and wellness creator with 2.5 million subscribers.

YouTube: Favorite part so far?
MissRemiAshten: We’re only on day one, and this has been my favorite one, for sure. Getting to see Julie Rice, the co-founder of SoulCycle, and getting to see her interact with Blogilates, who’s one of my favorite YouTubers and one of my really good friends. I feel like they’re two people I look up to so much, and I live by Soulcycle so I genuinely feel like they tailored a lot of stuff to our interests today.
YouTube: Key takeaway after hearing Susan, Neal and Robert on stage?
MissRemiAshten: There are so many things that go on behind the scenes that I don’t even know about. So it’s interesting to hear that. … It’s nice that YouTube has this whole conference for us in general, because no other platform does it.

— The YouTube Team

Addressing creator feedback and an update on my 2019 priorities

Dear Creators and Artists,

It’s hard to believe it’s only April given all that we’ve already witnessed this year. We’ve seen new creative peaks reached by our global creator community, showing even further that you are the heart of YouTube. But we’ve also faced incredible challenges. And given the scale and impact of YouTube, there’s nothing more important than managing our role as a platform responsibly.

All illustrations by Jing Wei



1. Living up to our responsibility


My top priority is responsibility. We’re always balancing maintaining an open platform with managing our community guidelines. But to combat a number of concerning incidents we’ve seen in the last few months, we’ve had to take more aggressive action.

In February, we announced the suspension of comments on most YouTube videos that feature minors. We did this to protect children from predatory comments (with the exception of a small number of channels that have the manpower needed to actively moderate their comments and take additional steps to protect children). We know how vital comments are to creators. I hear from creators every day how meaningful comments are for engaging with fans, getting feedback, and helping guide future videos. I also know this change impacted so many creators who we know are innocent—from professional creators to young people or their parents who are posting videos. But in the end, that was a trade-off we made because we feel protecting children on our platform should be the most important guiding principle.

The following month, we took unprecedented action in the wake of the Christchurch tragedy. Our teams immediately sprung into action to remove the violative content. To counter the enormous volume of uploaded videos showing violent imagery, we chose to temporarily break some of our processes and features. That meant a number of videos that didn’t actually violate community guidelines, including a small set of news and commentary, were swept up and kept off the platform (until appealed by its owners and reinstated). But given the stakes, it was another trade-off that we felt was necessary. And with the devastating Sri Lankan attacks, our teams worked around the clock to make sure we removed violative content. In both cases, our systems triggered authoritative news and limited the spread of any hate and misinformation.

These issues have also been top-of-mind for policy-makers, press, brands, and advertisers, whom I met with on recent trips to Washington and Asia. I updated them all on the steps we’ve taken around responsibility and also praised the extraordinary talents and importance of our creator economy. You’ve helped drive a remarkable transformation in the media landscape—where we’ve gone from a handful of broadcast networks to millions of channels that connect deeply with each and every person. Your videos not only touch lives, but have created new jobs and the next generation of media companies.


2. Support creator and artist success


Everywhere I go I try to meet with creators. Recently, I sat down with a number of creators in Japan and India and did videos with Korea Grandma in Seoul and Prajakta Koli, or MostlySane, in Mumbai. Back at home, I shared drinks and some honest conversation with Shane Dawson, James Charles, Collins and Devan Key, Ethan and Hila Klein, and Safiya Nygaard. It was inspiring to see how all these creators have invested so deeply in YouTube.



The feedback I heard from these discussions was especially important. A top issue was wanting more clarity around community guidelines and advertiser friendly policies so there’s more predictability on monetization and our recommendation system. They’re also looking for better representation of creators on trending. They’re frustrated with copyright claims that are less than 10 seconds or incidental. And they say the online harassment from fellow creators is growing and needs to be addressed.

I’d like to address these issues one by one. First, we plan to add more detail to our policies so that creators can make the best decisions on their content. Our Self Certification pilot is a great example of why this is so crucial. With this program, creators can self report how their video complies with ad policies and build up trust that our systems adjust to. This helps creators gain a better understanding of our guidelines and delivers clearer results for them and for advertisers. We’ve rolled out this pilot to over one thousand channels and I’m hopeful we will find a way to make it available to more monetizing channels. And on monetization, we’ll continue to focus on increasing the accuracy of the classifiers representing the advertising friendly guidelines, something we know is important for all creators. Since January, we’ve already improved the precision of the classifier by 25%.

On the trending tab, we’ve heard it doesn’t seem to reflect what people are watching on the platform and that too many of the same creators show up time and time again. One thing to keep in mind is that trending is meant to show content that a wide range of viewers would find interesting. So we’re especially careful about the safety of these videos and we ensure they don’t contain profanity or mature content. Eligible videos are then ranked based on a calculation of their “temperature”—how quickly that video is generating views. But we want to better showcase our creators. Going forward, our goal is to have at least half the videos on trending come from YouTubers (with the remainder coming from music and traditional media), something we’re close to already but will expand on. We also plan to make sure this is a diverse set of creators. And we’ll continue to ramp up our Creator on the Rise and Gaming Creator on the Rise initiatives.

We also heard firsthand that our Manual Claiming system was increasingly being used to claim very short (in some cases one second) content or incidental content like when a creator walks past a store playing a few seconds of music. We were already looking into this issue but hearing this directly from creators was vital. We are exploring improvements in striking the right balance between copyright owners and creators.

Finally, I take it very seriously when creators share stories of experiencing harassment on the platform. While criticism from fellow creators can be constructive, any threats or doxing crosses the line. Such behavior is already prohibited by our policies. But stay tuned as we will do more to discourage this from happening on the platform.

To help more creators find their audience, we’ve been ramping up our NextUp creator camps, with recent editions in Jakarta and London. And we’re seeing exciting momentum for YouTube around the world, not just for creators but also artists.


With the launch of YouTube Music in India, Japan, and Argentina, we’ve witnessed musical artists big and small reach new audiences internationally, and the free, ad-supported streaming app is now available in 43 countries, with more to come.

But we are also still very concerned about Article 13 (now renamed Article 17) — a part of the Copyright directive that recently passed in the E.U. While we support the rights of copyright holders—YouTube has deals with almost all the music companies and TV broadcasters today—we are concerned about the vague, untested requirements of the new directive. It could create serious limitations for what YouTube creators can upload. This risks lowering the revenue to traditional media and music companies from YouTube and potentially devastating the many European creators who have built their businesses on YouTube.

While the Directive has passed, there is still time to affect the final implementation to avoid some of the worst unintended consequences. Each E.U. member state now has two years to introduce national laws that are in line with the new rules, which means that the powerful collective voice of creators can still make a major impact.

We must continue to stand up and speak out for open creativity. Your actions have already led to the most popular Change.org petition in history and encouraged people to reach across borders. This is not the end of our movement but only the beginning.

3. Improving communication and engagement


Personally, and as a company, we are committed to listening to your feedback and concerns. Just like last year, we’ll be making a big push to meet creators where they want to communicate— through social, video, and one-on-one sessions. I plan on sitting down with more creators in 2019, focusing on the issues that are most important to you. Let me know who you’d like to see me meet with - I’m open to suggestions!

Hopefully, most of you have tried out YouTube Studio Beta, which we’ve built to give creators even more updates and news. It offers a Known Issues bulletin on the dashboard that lists outages, bugs, or issues going on with YouTube, and a new Analytics experience with long-requested metrics like impressions, thumbnail click-through rates, and unique viewers. We've also recently improved our support of InfoCards and EndScreens in the new Studio, as well as Comparisons in Analytics. Your feedback has been crucial to these improvements, and more real-time data is coming soon.

Since so many creators have told us that the community guidelines strike system felt inconsistent and confusing, we updated our policies to a simpler and more transparent system. Every creator now gets a one-time warning that allows them to learn about our policies before they face penalties on their channel. Each strike, no matter if it comes from the videos, thumbnails, or links, gets the same penalty. On top of adding new mobile and in-product notifications about a strike, our email and desktop notifications will provide more details on which policy was violated.

Like all of you, YouTube is continually adapting to keep up with a fast-changing world. But the one thing that won’t change is the fact that our past, present, and future success starts with our creators. Many of you have been with us since our early days, and have built YouTube into the vibrant community it is today. And that’s why we’re focused on supporting your growing businesses, both through improving responsibility on the platform and by creating more opportunities for you to engage and build audiences.


Being a creator can be rewarding, exhilarating, challenging, and exhausting all at once. But the hard work is worth it. You’re at the cutting edge of culture.Your stories are helping the world to connect and learn. Please continue to share your voice and your feedback with us—it helps us make our platform stronger.

Susan Wojcicki






More updates on our actions related to the safety of minors on YouTube

Dear Creators,

We know that many of you have been closely following the actions we’re taking to protect young people on YouTube and are as deeply concerned as we are that we get this right. We want to update you on some additional changes we’re making, particularly in regards to comments, building on the efforts we shared last week.


We recognize that comments are a core part of the YouTube experience and how you connect with and grow your audience. At the same time, the important steps we’re sharing today are critical for keeping young people safe. Thank you for your understanding and feedback as we continue our work to protect the YouTube community.



Below is a summary of the main steps we’ve taken to improve child safety on YouTube since our update last Friday:



Disabling comments on videos featuring minors




Over the past week, we disabled comments from tens of millions of videos that could be subject to predatory behavior. These efforts are focused on videos featuring young minors and we will continue to identify videos at risk over the next few months. Over the next few months, we will be broadening this action to suspend comments on videos featuring young minors and videos featuring older minors that could be at risk of attracting predatory behavior.



A small number of creators will be able to keep comments enabled on these types of videos. These channels will be required to actively moderate their comments, beyond just using our moderation tools, and demonstrate a low risk of predatory behavior. We will work with them directly and our goal is to grow this number over time as our ability to catch violative comments continues to improve.



Launching a new comments classifier




While we have been removing hundreds of millions of comments for violating our policies, we had been working on an even more effective classifier, that will identify and remove predatory comments. This classifier does not affect the monetization of your video. We accelerated its launch and now have a new comments classifier in place that is more sweeping in scope, and will detect and remove 2X more individual comments.



Taking action on creators who cause egregious harm to the community




No form of content that endangers minors is acceptable on YouTube, which is why we have terminated certain channels that attempt to endanger children in any way. Videos encouraging harmful and dangerous challenges targeting any audience are also clearly against our policies. We will continue to take action when creators violate our policies in ways that blatantly harm the broader user and creator community. Please continue to flag these to us.



Thank you for your understanding as we make these changes,

TeamYouTube

Making our strikes system clear and consistent

We’re updating the way we give Community Guidelines strikes to a new, simpler system. We’ve worked with creators to understand what’s working and what’s not, and you told us that consistent enforcement, clear policies, and transparency about the impact of a strike are most important. So we’re introducing more opportunities for everyone to understand our policies, a consistent penalty for each strike, and better notifications.







More opportunities to learn YouTube’s policies




Although 98% of you never break our Community Guidelines, they are vital to making YouTube a strong community and balancing freedom of expression with the freedom to belong. That’s whyfrom our earliest dayswe’ve relied on a three-strikes system and email notices to give everyone a chance to review and understand what went wrong before they face more severe consequences. And it works: 94% of those who do receive a first strike never get a second one.



We want to give you even more opportunities to learn about our policies, so starting February 25, all channels will receive a one-time warning the first time they post content that crosses the line, with no penalties to their channel except for the removal of that content. This is to make sure everyone takes the time to learn about our Community Guidelines, and then can quickly get back to creating great content and engaging with their audience in a way that complies with our rules.



Along with this new warning, we are also expanding the policy resources available in our help center to give more detail about what behavior will result in a strike. This includes new, detailed examples of the kind of content we commonly see that breaks our rules.


Consistent strikes across all of YouTube




We’re also making the penalty for violating our Community Guidelines the same wherever it happens. While most strikes result from videos, our Community Guidelines cover all content on YouTube, including stories, custom thumbnails, or links to other websites included in a video’s description or infocard.

Previously, not all strikes had the same penalty on your channel. For example, first strikes on videos would trigger a 90-day freeze on live streaming, and second strikes would result in a two-week freeze on new video uploads. We heard from many of you that this was confusing and the penalty didn’t match the source of the strike. Now, based on your feedback, all Community Guidelines strikes will have the same penalty:

As mentioned, everyone who uploads content to YouTube will now receive a warning the first time their content crosses the line. Although the content will be removed, there will be no other penalty on the channel. There will be only one warning and unlike strikes, the warning will not reset after 90 days.




  • The first strike will result in a one-week freeze on the ability to upload any new content to YouTube, including live streaming, and other channel activities. Strikes will expire after 90 days.
  • The second strike in any 90-day period will result in a two-week freeze on the ability to upload any new content to YouTube.
  • The third strike in any 90-day period will result in channel termination.




Transparency about your channel status




Finally, we always want to make it clear why a strike occurred, what it means for your channel, and the next steps that are availableincluding appealing the decision in case you think it was a mistake. To that end, we’re making our email and desktop notifications clearer, and they will provide more details on which policy was violated. We are also adding new mobile and in-product notifications to make sure you have all the important information about a strike available at a glance.



These updates are part of our ongoing work to make sure that YouTube is the best place to listen, share, and create community through your stories. Our strikes system is an important way for us to help creators and artists understand when they’ve crossed the line by uploading content that undermines that goal, and your feedback has helped to make this system work better for the entire community. We’ll build on this and all the progress we’ve made over the last year by continuing to consult with you as we strengthen enforcement and update our policies. We want to make sure they're easy to understand and address the needs of the global YouTube community.




— The YouTube Team

YouTube in 2019: Looking back and moving forward

Dear Creators,



I’m excited to share some thoughts about 2019 and the year ahead, but first wanted to take a moment and reflect on what was an unprecedented 2018. While we experienced tremendous growth across the platform, it was also a time of some tough growing up.



First, some milestones that we hit: the channels with over one million subscribers nearly doubled in the last year, and the number of creators earning five or six figures in the last year grew more than 40%. You’re creating the next generation of media companies and we’re thrilled to see how much the YouTube creator economy is thriving.

Illustrations by Martina Paukova


But one record we definitely didn’t set out to break was the most disliked video on the Internet. Even at home, my kids told me our 2018 Rewind was “cringey.” 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.



Last year, we also saw how the bad actions of a few individuals can negatively impact the entire creator ecosystem, and that’s why we put even more focus on responsible growth. We implemented a number of product and policy changes, from information cards on common conspiracies and breaking news shelves from authoritative sources, to consequences for creators who bring harm to that crucial trust you’ve built up with users and advertisers.



This year, I have three priorities: 1) Supporting creator and artist success; 2) Improving communication and engagement; and 3) Living up to our responsibility. Read on for an update on each.



1. Supporting creator and artist success




We know how vital monetization is to creators, and recognize it remains a pain point for many of you. Just as a reminder, we started last year with many of our largest advertisers paused because of brand safety concerns. We worked incredibly hard to build the right systems and tools to make sure advertisers feel confident investing in YouTube, and most are now back. On the creator side, we’ve been improving our classifiers so that we make the right monetization decision for each video. We’ve increased the accuracy of the monetization icon by 40% and are also making it easier for creators to appeal when we make the wrong call. But there’s still more work to do on both of these fronts and we’re committed to getting it right for everyone.



We’ve also been building new ways for you to make money beyond advertising. We expanded YouTube Music and YouTube Premium and made both available in 29 countries, up from just five at the beginning of 2018. We’ve also added other solutions to help you diversify revenue, including Super Chat, Channel Memberships, Merchandise, and Ticketing. Last quarter, we opened up Merch shelf access to all eligible creators globally. We also continued to make channel memberships more broadly available, lowering the subscriber threshold from 100,000 to 30,000.



On the issue of Article 13: 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. You’ve proven to be an influential voice in the debate. Your videos were viewed hundreds of millions of times and a near-record 4.6 million people signed the petition at Change.org.



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. 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.



The debate around Article 13 remains ongoing. This could be decided in the next few weeks, so please keep speaking out on this critical issue for all YouTube creators.



2. Improving communication and engagement




In 2018, we took steps to communicate better with you. We introduced YouTube Studio, a new home base which will be available to all creators this year, and are constantly adding new features to it. Some of the latest include Known Issues, News widgets, and new metrics like thumbnail click-through rates and Merch options.



Many of you told us you prefer hearing from us through social posts, so we set a goal to be more responsive through those channels. In the last year, we’ve increased our number of responses by 150% and made our response times 50% faster.




But we also love meeting you in person. In 2018, we held more than 480 events with over 18,000 creators—from Fanfests, to Creator Summits, to workshops. We even had the opportunity to sit down with some of you for your channels. If you haven’t already seen it, I highly recommend Luisito’s chat with our chief product officer Neal Mohan. Watch this space, as we will invest even more in communication this year.



And it’s the engagement between creators and viewers that truly sets YouTube apart from traditional media like TV. Our goal is to grow this in new ways. One addition last year was the Premieres feature that allows creators to generate a shared experience with fans around new videos. Creators like Lele Pons and Emma Chamberlain used Premieres on their way to racking up millions of views. At its peak, Ariana Grande’s “thank u, next” had 829,000 unique viewers watching and interacting simultaneously, making this video the biggest Premiere ever on YouTube. I’m sure we’ll see even more of these moments in 2019.




We also recently made Stories available to all eligible creators with more than 10,000 subscribers, and opened up Community posts to all channels with more than 1,000 subscribers. Billions of comments were made on YouTube in 2018, and for a better experience, we improved comment ranking, added @mentions in comments and introduced a feature where creators can hold inappropriate comments for review in 10 languages.



3. Living up to our responsibility




It is my personal mission to ensure that we're living up to our responsibilities to our users, as well as to you, the creator community. We made a lot of improvements here in 2018 but recognize there’s still much more to do.



First, more and more people are coming to YouTube for news. Not only have we made changes to ensure they’re having a good experience when they visit, but we’ve prioritized supporting the journalism community. One key effort is the Google News Initiative YouTube innovation funding program, announced last summer. Hundreds of organizations submitted proposals and we awarded grants to 87 recipients to help them build up their video capabilities. We also expanded our breaking news shelf and top news shelves to 31 countries and look forward to expanding them even further this year.



Another focus was on more quickly and effectively removing the content that violates our Community Guidelines, as shown in our report. But we know we need to more clearly communicate about the policies that impact you. Most recently we updated guidance to creators about our policies on custom thumbnails, external links, and pranks and challenges. And our Creator Insider channel covered how we address profanity. Look for more of these types of updates in the months to come.



A major highlight for me in 2018 was watching how creators used YouTube as a way to give back. More than 40 creators worked together last year to benefit eight charities with YouTube Giving, which included our first annual #YouTubeGiving Week program in November. YouTuber Matpat and Stephanie of The Game Theorists helped us kick it off with a special livestream and Matpat said it was “one of the highlights of [his] seven years YouTubing.”



Finally, we’ve seen the incredible momentum around learning and education on YouTube and we’re investing to support its growth. Last year, we introduced the Learning Fund and awarded grants to 65 creators chosen from more than 1,000 submissions. Recipients will be developing multi-session learning content for YouTube, so stay tuned for more details on when that will roll out.



Also, keep an eye out for our first EduCon of 2019, which is coming up in the U.K. in February. We hosted four EduCon conferences around the world in 2018, engaging with nearly 450 creators in the U.S., Mexico, Brazil and India.



Personally, I depended on the learning content more times than I can count. With YouTube’s incredibly busy year, I turned to the platform for some of my workouts and have a lot of appreciation for the yoga YouTubers. The work of all educational creators has brought incredible enrichment to so many lives in so many ways.



All in all, 2018 was a year of change, challenges, and opportunity. This year will undoubtedly be more of the same. Keep the feedback coming—even though sometimes it’s hard to read—it’s your questions and comments that help make YouTube the very best video community for all of us. The creator community is what inspires me daily and makes this platform so special...so thank you again.



Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube

Introducing more ways to share your Stories on YouTube


As a creator, you're always looking to strengthen your relationship with your audience. You bring them along on your travels, give them a backstage pass to one of your videos, or even a sneak peek at your upcoming video. Through testing the Stories format with a small group of you over the past year, we’ve seen you do just that, from FashionbyAlly giving updates on what’s coming next, to Colin and Samir bringing their fans into the creative process. We applied feedback that we got from you to build a product specifically designed with you, the YouTube creator, in mind. And starting today, we are excited to announce that we are rolling out YouTube Stories to all eligible creators with 10K+ subscribers.









Creating with Stories is lightweight, easy, and fun. Stories will have the fun creation tools that you know and love. You can add text, music, filters, YouTubey stickers, and more to make your story uniquely you! To create a story, just open the YouTube mobile app, tap on the video camera icon, and select "Create Story."




We’ve also added comments to Stories, so the entire community can be a part of the conversation. Your fans can comment, thumbs up and thumbs down comments, and you can heart comments. And all of the comment moderation tools that are available on video uploads will also be available on Stories. You can now also respond directly to a fan comment with a photo or video for the entire community to see!




Images via Colin and Samir




Once posted, Stories are available in the mobile app for 7 days to ensure that your fans have a chance to see it. Stories may show up to both subscribers on the Subscriptions tab and non-subscribers on Home and in the Up Next list below videos.




We’re excited to see how you continue to use Stories to reach out to your community. Give it a try today!



Todd Sherman, Product Lead for YouTube Stories

New ways to create and watch VR videos

VR videos deliver a powerful way to share and experience the world. From going behind the curtain with Cirque du Soleil, to diving into iconic pieces of art, to a behind-the-scenes studio tour with a TV super star, you can transport your viewers experience moments as if they’re actually there.

We’ve heard that you want to make and see even more immersive videos on YouTube. That’s why we’re continuing to expand the ways anyone can create and watch VR content.

More ways to watch YouTube VR


With all the great content that’s available on YouTube today, we want to continue our effort to bring the YouTube VR app to everyone with a VR headset. Starting today, the app will be available on Oculus Go headsets via the Oculus Store.

Making it easier to create VR180 content


Last year we introduced VR180, a new video format that focuses on what’s in front of the camera while delivering a 3D effect in a VR headset. By focusing only on the 180-degree view of what’s in front of the camera, it made VR video production easier for creators like you, encouraging more VR videos than ever before.

Since then we’ve introduced new tools to make this type of video creation even easier. We launched the VR180 Creator Tool that makes it faster to process footage, add metadata and publish. The tool is available on MacOS, Linux and now on Windows.

With the latest editing tools from Adobe, it’s also significantly easier for you to edit, add effects and publish your content. And with new VR180 capable cameras from Kandao and Vuze, you now have more options for capturing VR180 to complement cameras from Z-Cam and Lenovo.

Creating more immersive VR videos


Spatial audio can help make haunted houses more scary and imaginary video game worlds more real. That’s because it matches realistic sounds and picture together for a more immersive experience. We’ve recently added support for head-locked audio, which means that you can add narration and background music that will sound the same no matter where you look.

VR videos unlock a world of experiences. With new and easier ways to create and watch VR content, we look forward to seeing what stories you tell, locations you transport viewers to and experiences you uncover.

Posted by Erin Teague, VR Product Lead, who recently watched "Alvin Ailey's Judith Jamison Speaks on Cry in VR180 | Black Girls Rock!"

The Potential Unintended Consequences of Article 13

This op-ed originally appeared in the Financial Times.
Creativity has long been a guiding force in my life, which is why I jumped at the opportunity to be YouTube’s chief executive nearly five years ago.



Creators have used YouTube to share their voices, inspire their fans, and build their livelihoods. Kurzgesagt — In a Nutshell recently became the number one channel in Germany by creating videos that help others fall in love with science. Artists like Dua Lipa and Ed Sheeran reached fans on YouTube long before they were discovered by a label. And acclaimed musicians like Elton John have used our site to breathe new life into iconic songs.



We have worked hard to ensure creators and artists are fairly compensated for their work. In the last year, YouTube paid content owners across the EU €800m. We have also paid the global music industry more than €1.5bn from advert-generated revenue alone.



However, this creator economy is under threat from a section of the EU’s efforts to revise its copyright directive, known as article 13, which holds internet companies directly responsible for any copyright infringement in the content shared on their platform.



While we support the goals of article 13, the European Parliament’s current proposal will create unintended consequences that will have a profound impact on the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people.



The parliament’s approach is unrealistic in many cases because copyright owners often disagree over who owns what rights. If the owners cannot agree, it is impossible to expect the open platforms that host this content to make the correct rights decisions.



Take the global music hit “Despacito”. This video contains multiple copyrights, ranging from sound recording to publishing rights. Although YouTube has agreements with multiple entities to license and pay for the video, some of the rights holders remain unknown. That uncertainty means we might have to block videos like this to avoid liability under article 13. Multiply that risk with the scale of YouTube, where more than 400 hours of video are uploaded every minute, and the potential liabilities could be so large that no company could take on such a financial risk.



We have already taken steps to address copyright infringement by developing technology, like our Content ID programme, to help rights holders manage their copyrights and earn money automatically. More than 98 per cent of copyright management on YouTube takes place through Content ID. To date, we have used the system to pay rights holders more than €2.5bn for third party use of their content. We believe Content ID provides the best solution for managing rights on a global scale.



The consequences of article 13 go beyond financial losses. EU residents are at risk of being cut off from videos that, in just the last month, they viewed more than 90bn times. Those videos come from around the world, including more than 35m EU channels, and they include language classes and science tutorials as well as music videos.



We welcome the chance to work with policymakers and the industry to develop a solution within article 13 that protects rights holders while also allowing the creative economy to thrive. This could include more comprehensive licensing agreements, collaboration with rights holders to identify who owns what, and smart rights management technology, similar to Content ID.



Platforms that follow these rules, and make a good effort to help rights holders identify their content, shouldn’t be held directly liable for every single piece of content that a user uploads. We ask policymakers to find a solution that protects rights holders and creators alike, and listen to the growing number of EU voices, including some member countries, who agree there’s a better way forward.



Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube

A Final Update on Our Priorities for 2018

Dear Creators,

Since 2005, YouTube has transformed from a single video at the zoo to a global video library where billions of people turn to each day for knowledge, creativity and connection. Today, YouTube is a diverse community of creators who are building the next generation of media companies and drawing fans from every corner of the world. You are making history and changing the way people watch video, engage with each other and share their voice. I feel honored to help you do this, and I continue to be inspired by what I see.

In the last year, the number of channels with over 1 million subscribers has increased by 75%. Each month, more than one billion fans come to YouTube to be part of music culture and discover new songs and artists. Building on that momentum, we’ve expanded YouTube Music to the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Russia, Canada, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Brazil. We also rolled out three new stories on Janelle Monáe, J Balvin and Shawn Mendes in our YouTube Artist Spotlight series over the last few months. And we launched 13 YouTube Originals in the last quarter, including three in Germany and two in France.

All of this is possible because of the creative economy powered by you. However, this growing creative economy is at risk, as the EU Parliament voted on Article 13, copyright legislation that could drastically change the internet that you see today.

Article 13 as written threatens to shut down the ability of millions of people -- from creators like you to everyday users -- to upload content to platforms like YouTube. And it threatens to block users in the EU from viewing content that is already live on the channels of creators everywhere. This includes YouTube’s incredible video library of educational content, such as language classes, physics tutorials and other how-to’s.

This legislation poses a threat to both your livelihood and your ability to share your voice with the world. And, if implemented as proposed, Article 13 threatens hundreds of thousands of jobs, European creators, businesses, artists and everyone they employ. The proposal could force platforms, like YouTube, to allow only content from a small number of large companies. It would be too risky for platforms to host content from smaller original content creators, because the platforms would now be directly liable for that content.  We realize the importance of all rights holders being fairly compensated, which is why we built Content ID and a platform to pay out all types of content owners. But the unintended consequences of article 13 will put this ecosystem at risk.  We are committed to working with the industry to find a better way.  This language could be finalized by the end of the year, so it’s important to speak up now.

Please take a moment to learn more about how it could affect your channel and take action immediately. Tell the world through social media (#SaveYourInternet) and your channel why the creator economy is important and how this legislation will impact you.

Please read on for an update on our priorities for 2018.


Communication & Transparency

As I’ve written to you before, we’ve made a conscious effort to communicate with you more in the place where your conversations are taking place--social and video. Based on your feedback, we’ve also increased the number of product updates or “heads up” messages regarding changes to YouTube, including smaller tests or experiments, on our @TeamYouTube handle and the Creator Insider channel. And we continue to share helpful tutorials and inspiring creator stories on our YouTube Creators channel, formerly the Creator Academy channel. We’re working to increase these efforts. I’m posting more videos to my own channel and the Creator Insider channel just posted their 100th video!

We’ve heard that you want communication from us in a simplified way and in one central location. To that point, we launched YouTube Studio, the new one-stop shop for platform news and product updates. This is the primary place for getting YouTube-related information, such as announcements about new features, creator academy videos and Creator Insider weekly news flashes. This easy-to-view dashboard is THE place you can go to find the latest news and will be the new homepage for all creators by end of the year.

Finally, our leadership continues to meet face-to-face with creators around the world. Robert Kyncl and Neal Mohan spoke to creators from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa at the Creator Summit in Berlin. Robert continued his series of Creator Interviews with Caspar Lee in Berlin and Gautam Anand, Managing Director of YouTube APAC, sat down with Korean creator Dotty in Seoul. We saw incredible turn out at our Creator Summit in Seoul, with creators from across Asia Pacific, and, we look forward to hosting Latin American creators at our final 2018 Creator Summit in November.

Helping you succeed

Monetization is the heart of your business. To that end, we released an update to our monetization systems this quarter, which improved the accuracy of monetization icons by 10%.

In my last letter, I talked about our pilot to test a new video upload flow that asks creators to provide specific information about what’s in their video as it relates to our advertiser-friendly guidelines. Most creators in the pilot were able to accurately represent the content in their video, and it is providing more transparency to creators in terms of what type of content is suitable for ads. We hope to offer self certification to more creators before end of year and plan to expand broadly in early 2019.

This summer, we announced Channel Memberships, and since then, we’ve seen thousands of creators take advantage of this feature. For instance, Wintergatan, creator of the Marble Machine, grew his revenue by more than 50% since adding channel memberships and is using it to fund his next generation Marble Machine and a World Tour. Gaming creator Markiplier increased his revenue by 20% and Comedy creator Mike Falzone tripled his YouTube revenue. We’ve also seen creators use Memberships to support creative endeavours, such as TriStar Gym offering exclusive Brazilian Jiu Jitsu technique videos and Ola Englund offering guitar lessons online to members. Because of this success, we're accelerating the roll-out of memberships to more channels and lowering the subscriber threshold from 100,000 to 50,000 subscribers. We plan to expand memberships to even more of you in the months to come.

Over the past few weeks, we've hosted three special editions of our NextUp camps designed to support up-and-coming Black, Latino and women creators. We received more applications for this round than any other before it. If you missed your chance to apply this time, please stay tuned for the next round. We are hosting two more in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and St. Petersburg, Russia and plan to announce more in the coming months.

Giving people more ways to engage

Since we announced Premieres this summer, creators have been using this new feature to generate more views, more engagement and more revenue for their channel. For instance, Twenty One Pilots premiered their new video My Blood to more than 75,000 fans who watched it together and engaged over live chat and comments. One of our top gaming creators, TheRadBrad, tried it out and told his fans in his live chat that “it was one of the coolest experiences in my 8 years on YouTube.” And Linus Tech Tips’ premiere of his recent tech reviews was one of his best performing videos. I’m happy to announce that premieres is now available to all creators.

We recently introduced YouTube Giving, a suite of features that allow creators and nonprofits to raise funds for causes they care about directly on YouTube videos and live streams. While these features are currently in beta, we’ve seen creators use them to create inspiring impact. Hope for Paws raised over $100,000 in the first 10 days, and over 12 gaming creators have teamed up with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to raise over $125,000 throughout Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Our hope is to expand these features soon to more creators so that they can give back and support causes they care about.

Finally, we’re building a stronger gaming community on YouTube with features, such as our new Gaming Destination, Gaming Creator on the Rise and dedicated pages for over 80,000 games. We’ll also be retiring the standalone gaming app next year. We know this change impacts a lot of you, but it will allow gaming creators to have greater access to fans while still providing a unique gaming experience.

Tightening and enforcing our policies

One of our biggest priorities from a policy perspective has been investing in the news experience on YouTube and tackling misinformation. In close collaboration with many of our news partners, we've rolled out a number of changes to address them. For example, we have worked to make credible sources more readily available to users and rolled out breaking news and top news shelves in 23 countries. We also hosted the first YouTube News working group meeting at our headquarters and used this opportunity to listen to news organizations, academics, and creators on how we can improve news on the platform. Finally, we’re supporting journalism with technology that allows news to thrive, including an innovation fund to help news organizations sustainably build their video capabilities. We know we have more to do to combat misinformation, and we will continue to invest in innovative solutions to address this.

We also continue to provide updates to our YouTube Community Guidelines enforcement report, which you can read here.

Learning and education

Learning is one of the best parts of YouTube. In recent months, BookTubers came together for their annual BookTubeAThon, during which creators read books, shared their thoughts via their channels and inspired people around the world to do the same. We also saw “Study with me” videos gain popularity--motivating users to persevere through their own study sessions.

We’re committed to empowering both the creators who want to share their knowledge with the world and the users who come to our platform to learn--from home improvements to the basics of physics to grammar lessons. Today I’m happy to announce we’re investing $20 million in YouTube Learning, an initiative to support education focused creators and expert organizations that create and curate high quality learning content on YouTube. Part of this investment includes a Learning Fund to support creators who want to build multi-session learning content for YouTube. If you’re interested in this program, please fill out this form.

As part of efforts to support creators who are sharing their knowledge on the platform, we also launched Learning, a new channel of curated tutorials, DIY videos, skill-based playlists, and other high-quality educational content from a range of creators. And we hosted three YouTube EduCon gatherings in Los Angeles, Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro. These conferences were great opportunities for Edutubers to network and learn new skills, and we’re planning to hold more conferences in new places in the upcoming year.

At YouTube, we hope to give back. We’ve worked with Lily Singh to support girls’ education and fight violence against children, and we teamed up with Priyanka Chopra, BB Ki Vines, and MostlySane to encourage girls’ literacy and education around the world. Please take a moment to watch and support theses causes.

Thank you for making YouTube an incredible source of creativity, knowledge and inspiration. As always, keep the feedback coming. I’m listening.

Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube