My channel is currently monetized on YouTube, but will lose that monetization on February 20th (almost certainly). I’m a #SmallYouTuber and the announcement about losing monetization if I didn’t meet the 4,000 hour and 1,000 subscribers threshold came out of the blue. I got an email in my inbox mid January informing me that if I wanted to keep monetization, I had about a month to find 300 new subscribers and double the total amount of watch time I had to date.
Ironically, it ended up being great publicity for me because revoking partner status from small channels got people fired up, tons of people shared the channel and and we passed the 1,000 subscribers mark 3 days later. Getting 2,000 additional hours of watch time in a month, on the other hand, isn’t going to happen to a small channel like mine unless a national media outlet runs one of my videos or some such boost.
YouTube revenue comes with a lot of unknowns. The algorithm may change, the policies can change, the time of year and type of audience and number of clicks all play into how much you earn. But even if it were more predictable, I think the potential earnings through a system like Patreon are going to be higher. In 2017, I earned $1,900 on Patreon. My total income from ad revenue on YouTube during the same period was $18.