PewDiePie is taking on YouTube’s new advertisement policy in a new satirical video that promises he’s going “family friendly.”
In a new video posted today, PewDiePie explained that since YouTube’s new advertisement policy went into effect, more than a third of his videos had become demonetized. The only way to earn an income comparable to what he’s been making on YouTube is to rework the type of content on his channel.
“No more swearing, no more sexual jokes and definitely no more Hitler jokes,” PewDiePie says. “I wish I was joking, I’m not. It seems that YouTube has made some changes and about a third of my videos have become demonetized. I’m going to have [to be] family friendly from now on so I don’t go homeless.
“I love money too much.”
To raise a point about the new rules regarding advertisement placement on the site, PewDiePie spends the majority of his video making jokes that could be construed as inappropriate without ever going against the site’s new guidelines. After making less money in one day than he did in 2013, according to the YouTube personality, the new advertisement policy is effectively forcing him to either change his tone or accept less ad deals. That being said, however, PewDiePie is still one of the most watched, subscribed to and highest paid personalities on the site. Even with the new restrictions on content, he’s making more than the rest of YouTube’s creators.
YouTube recently decided to make it more difficult for YouTube creators to get paid after controversy over the type of content getting monetized. Big companies in Europe and North America started pulling advertising after learning their ads were being placed before videos promoting hateful or questionable content. PewDiePie, who in many ways kickstarted the controversy YouTube is facing after videos containing anti-Semitic content were published on his channel, is one of the better known personalities affected by YouTube’s new changes.
In March, YouTube provided a statement about the new changes it was bringing into effect. A blog post published on YouTube’s creators’ website explained that YouTube wanted to ensure that its creators got paid for the work they put on the site, but had to ensure that advertisers felt comfortable with promoting companies without the fear of retribution.
“But there’s a difference between the free expression that lives on YouTube and the content that brands have told us they want to advertise against,” according to the blog post. “Our advertiser-friendly content policies set the tone for which videos can earn revenue, ensuring that ads only appear where they should. To make sure we apply this process fairly, we also give creators the chance to appeal if they feel any of their videos have been unfairly demonetized.”
This includes taking a tougher stance on hate speech that may appear in channels, giving advertisers the ability to screen the videos their ads appear on, introducing new processing methods for who gets to become a YouTube partner and finding new ways to make YouTube a more diverse site for creators.
“Although ad restrictions can feel limiting, they’re essential to protecting the livelihood of creators,” the blog post reads.
Based on the rest of the video, PewDiePie has no intention of going family friendly anytime soon, but in a video released last week, the YouTube personality did announce he was moving to Twitch for a weekly show. Twitch, which also has its own standards and ethics, will allow the creator more freedom and opportunity to be paid, according to PewDiePie. PewDiePie’s new show, Best Club, launched on Sunday.
"I decided this before, okay?" Kjellberg said. "Before anything, so don't read it the wrong way. But I wanted to start doing streams on Twitch."
Despite PewDiePie’s joking attitude toward the controversy, he has been repeatedly affected by YouTube’s decisions. Immediately following the controversy surrounding his anti-Semitic videos, he was dropped from Disney’s Maker Studios and, as he said himself, has lost a number of advertising partners because of his material. Whether or not he has more success on Twitch is yet to be seen.
Twitch also has its own set of ethics and rules that streamers must abide by. Any stream that “promotes, or encourages discrimination, harassment, or violence based on race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, or nationality” is considered hate speech and is strictly prohibited. PewDiePie’s videos don’t do this, but some of his previous videos contain Hitler jokes and the aforementioned anti-Semitic content, which could be seen as questionable by Twitch’s guidelines. Inappropriate behavior such as “nudity and conduct involving overtly sexual behavior and/or attire” or anything overtly sexual is also prohibited.
Polygon has reached out to Twitch for comment on PewDiePie’s content and will update when more information becomes available.
Correction: Maker Studios is owned by Disney, not Google. The article has been updated to reflect these changes.