Enough Complaining about Sponsored Content on YouTube

Dear Reader, I rarely watch TV. I very rarely turn on our satellite and sit and watch a full episode of a show. It’s not because I look down on TV, but because, many years ago, I found the content I wanted to watch somewhere else. YouTube has been a part of my life for years. I love watching vlogs and sit down videos, and love the conversation the platform generates. But, as the title of this post states, I have something to say about sponsored content.

YouTuber are broken into different categories by genre. There are beauty vloggers, travel vloggers, challenge vloggers etc. And YouTubers can make money from their videos.

Now, there are different ways to make money creating content. There is ad revenue(such as pre-roll and bottom third advertisements that you see on a video itself), grants(where channels like The Brain Scoop are funded by an organization for the greater good/education), and sponsored content. Sponsored content is the one that people seem to genuinely get frustrated about, and I want to tackle that as a topic.

YouTube is, ultimately, about sharing talent. Most vloggers have some level of creativity to their medium, and the way they share stories is portrayed in their videos.

Sponsored content simply requires a content creator to include the product they are sponsored by within their video. Sometimes this includes a giveaway or a coupon code, but for the most part, the content creator is being paid a sum of undisclosed money to include the product in the video.

Now, some people, especially long time followers of specific content creators, feel like it is a moral affront for them to do sponsored videos. That creativity, integrity and morality lay with whether the vlogger does sponsored content.

Being a YouTuber takes time. There’s coming up with ideas, filming, editing, uploading, replying to comments, marketing, and so many things that go into putting good content out there. And for some people, YouTube is a job. It is the thing that gives them monetary sustenance to keep going.

And I see this if someone has 200k subscribers of 4 million. People complain about YouTubers “selling out.” And I get it. But when it comes to content creation, one either can make money via ads, or by the consumers paying directly for the content through services like Patreon.

When you watch a movie, do you know who you are being marketed to by? If you see a brand name, a logo, or anything within a film that has a product name, it’s more likely than not that some company has sponsored that content. And we don’t seem to mind with movies, because integration and disclosure rules are different, and have to be more pronounced on platforms like YouTube.

What bothers me about all of this is that no one is obligated to watch sponsored content. When you click on a video, you can pause it, scroll through the description, and check if it’s sponsored. And if it is, and you don’t want to watch a sponsored video, you can click off of it and do something else.

Ultimately, as long as people are unwilling to directly pay for YouTube, there will be sponsored content, that’s the bottom line. I don’t know if there is an easy answer as to how to compensate people for their labor while continuing an online accessible forum for an everyday person to display their talents, but I’d love to hear your thoughts about all of this in the comments.

-M

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