YouTube’s Biggest Stars Say They’re Having to Look For Other Work Due to Advertiser Boycott

The YouTube “Adpocalypse” is claiming more victims, with some of the video-sharing site’s biggest stars revealing that they’re actively looking for other sources of revenue as a result of the site’s widespread advertiser boycott.

YouTube has enforced new rules since major advertisers such as PepsiCo and McDonald’s pulled their ads from the site, in an attempt to limit the monetization of videos that aren’t deemed ad-friendly. However, their efforts have led to some of YouTube’s most popular channel having many of their videos demonetized, too, which has severely impacted the financial bottom line of a slew of video makers.

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h3h3productions, the husband and wife comedy channel hosted by Ethan and Hila Klein, released a video this week in which they explained how the YouTube advertiser walkout has impacted them financially, revealing that they will now be looking for new ways to make money as they are now only earning “10 to 15 per cent” of what they were prior to the boycott. “It continues to get worse, to the point where we don’t think we can continue to even exist in the same way that we have, on YouTube,” Ethan explained. He then went on to reveal that 7 out of 8 of his channel’s recent uploads have been demonetized, either for featuring “controversial” subject matter such as a title containing the word “Christianity,” discussing politics or featuring fake blood and urine.


h3h3productions recently appeared in a video alongside Steve-O.

“As usual, YouTube is the worst communicator ever,” Ethan continued. “They used to demonetize your videos and you would at least understand and have a chance to appeal. So what they are doing now [for] brands is they’re giving them categories like “controversial, “profane.” There’s no nuance, there’s no subtlety, so if a brand sees something as controversial they click off of it. They don’t tell you that you’ve been flagged as controversial … they don’t show you the “underneath tags” that say this video is controversial, violent, sexual or whatever, that would make 80 per cent of the brands click off it.”

You can watch the video below:

h3h3productions have 3.8 million subscribers on YouTube, generating an average of around 2.5 million views per video. The amount of money that can be earned from each of these videos is subject to a number of varying factors, including the amount of money the advertiser has plugged into their YouTube campaign, the length of the ad and, crucially, how many views the video has achieved. While Ethan and Hila haven’t disclosed their earnings, it’s safe to assume that they were making a very comfortable salary prior to these changes, though they’re now being forced to seek opportunities outside of YouTube.

While Ethan and Hila aren’t among the site’s most subscribed YouTubers, they certainly aren’t a small channel and their announcement is an indication of how much creators are struggling with the new changes. PewDiePie, who has 53 million subscribers and is the site’s top earner, has also been vocal about the impact the ad boycott has had on the site. In a video titled ‘Can We Save YouTube?’ he directly addresses advertisers, saying that issues pertaining to the site’s derogatory content have been “blown way out of proportion” and discussing the systems YouTube has in place to prevents ads from showing on videos that aren’t deemed advertiser friendly. With many YouTubers pointing the finger of blame at the media for the advertiser boycott, with outlets such as the Wall Street Journal reporting upon the site’s various controversies in high-profile news stories, PewDiePie concluded the video by saying: “The way media like to portray things is no longer a reflection of reality.”

Though it’s understandable that advertisers would want to be cautious about the videos they associate with, this boycott has had a knock-on effect for creators whose videos would have previously been deemed ad-friendly. It’s uncertain whether or not advertisers are simply forcing YouTube’s hand to enforce stricter advertising regulations, or if this boycott will have major lasting ramifications for the site, but its creators are panicking either way.