Article Updated: 18 May 2021
Update: And it’s official. Today’s email from YouTube about new Terms of Service update confirms global changes coming into effect on June 1, 2021:
Have you noticed ads on your videos? Yes, this is quite possible even if you are not in YouTube Partner Program!
Google’s YouTube — the largest video platform in the world — announced back in November 2020 several very important changes that you might have missed. As part of their global changes regarding terms and conditions, YouTube will expand those changes worldwide during mid 2021. Several very important financial aspects of those changes are recent announcement for withholding tax introduction by June 2021, and right to monetize all creators’ content, regardless of their eligibility and status in YouTube Partner Program (YPP) for monetization.
YouTube To Run Ads On All* Your Videos – Even If You Are Not In YouTube Partner Program
Here’s the official announcement excerpts:
As noted in the changes to our Terms of Service, YouTube has the right to monetize all content on the platform. YouTube will begin placing ads into videos from channels not in the YouTube Partner Program as part of this.
Above monetization changes are already in effect for content creators who live in United States. Changes for the global worldwide creators will come into effect during 2021.
In addition, changes regarding WHT tax and royalties was also announced at the same time:
If you are entitled to receive payments from YouTube through any other agreement between yourself and YouTube (for example, through the YouTube Partner Program), all such payments will be treated as royalties in the U.S. starting November 18, 2020. Google will withhold taxes from such payments as required by law. Similar changes will be announced for creators outside the U.S. in 2021.
As Google / YouTube Team explains, first change will potentially affect all YouTube videos / content, regardless of their creators’ eligibility and status in YPP. This effectively translates into several potential scenarios.
 If you are not part of YPP, and your channel is not yet eligible for content monetization, but your videos are brand safe and advertiser friendly material, YT holds full rights to monetize your content without your explicit consent. Naturally, you will not receive any revenue share from advertising activity in this case, until you reach content monetization eligibility threshold requirements.
 If you are part of YPP, you will have full monetization control over your content, including revenue share benefits. However, if you do not monetize your entire content, but only specific videos, and assuming your content is brand safe and advertiser friendly material in general, that content may still be monetized regardless of your monetization ON/OFF setting in YouTube Studio. Actually, this is a bit unclear at the moment, and definitely needs further explanation by YouTube team.
Will every video playback on YouTube also run ads from now on?
No, of course not. First of all, not every video is suitable for monetization, and that remains to be managed by YouTube algorithms, machine learning and AI bots, along with human moderators. But, majority of the content might, so effectively we can answer with ‘yes’.
On the other hand, percentage of monetized playbacks, even for videos that are part of YPP approved channels, is usually around 60% ~ 70%, which means that remaining playbacks are not monetized. However, YouTube is now sometimes running two ads back-to-back before video starts.
For advertisers it is definitely safer to advertise on YPP approved channels exclusively, because they pass stricter content checks, periodic re-evaluations of the content, and posses higher overall channel quality index. However, opening “entire” YouTube content for advertisers on the other end might be a smart move to ease the downside stricter rules potentially imposed on the platform when they were first introduced back in February 2018 and reduce the operating costs of running the largest video content platform in the world.