No one is pretending that creating content isn't a business. The top content creators across the world spend almost their whole lives researching, storyboarding, filming, editing or promoting their videos. Surely it's only fair that these creators see a great return on their investment?
As more and more people join YouTube, the RPM (revenue per thousand ad-impressions) for content creators has been declining. Many content creators have been using merchandise and sponsorship deals in addition to AdSense to help boost their income and turn their hobby into a career.
A side-note to all those who don't believe that YouTubers should be paid so much: These Youtubers spend upwards of 60 hours a week on their channels, have a mass of expenses to pay (such as management fees, location booking fees, equipment hire) and put their whole lives in YouTube's hands. At the end of all this, they also provide entertainment and are role-models to millions of people. I hope you agree when I say that these content creators deserve their revenue, they aren't just “teens filming in a bedroom".
For those not aware of the "Oreo Lick Race", it was a challenge created by Oreo back in June of 2014 who had then paid certain influential YouTubers to participate. Shortly after the videos went live, the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) ruled that the videos created were breaching current guidelines as the YouTubers did not make it explicitly clear to viewers that they were being paid to promote the biscuits in their videos.
"It's important that guidelines are put in place to avoid the abuse of celebrity influence over impressionable audiences." - BBC Newsbeat
Due to the lack of information available to content creators about online advertising regulations, many YouTubers found themselves in a middle of a landmark ruling. It is widely believed that these new guidelines will only improve the relationship between content creators, their audience and brands.
Following these ruling, the Committee of Advertising Practice (Cap) has now provided vloggers with a set of guidelines so content creators can be clear of what is permitted when working with brands to create videos. It is perfectly fine for YouTubers to work with brands, however there is an issue when the line between editorial and advertising content gets blurred.
If you are a UK YouTuber who has been given creative guidelines by a brand in exchange for payment or free products then you must let your audience know it is an advertisement.
Are you affected?
If you're unsure whether or not you are affected, we have created a tool to help vloggers understand if they fall foul of these Cap guidelines:
Are you a UK based content creator?
Are you creating a video featuring a branded product?
Have you been asked by the brand or a representative to make a video?
Are you being paid by the brand to create the video? Either cash or free products.
Does the brand have creative control over the content of the video?
Are you promoting your own products?
Are your products the SOLE focus of the video?
"The media would have us believe that YouTubers were actively trying to deceive their audiences about their brand deals, I don't think this is the case. These guidelines ultimately means that it will be clearer to YouTubers who are accepting deals what they do and don't have to do."
If you have any thoughts about the new guidelines, we'd love to hear about your concerns or praise about them. Get in touch using the comments section below.