YouTubers ARE being asked to cover games for money without disclosing the deals, a new report has claimed.
Eurogamer reports that John ‘TotalBiscuit’ Bain admits that he has previously been offered money by publishers to cover their titles on the condition that the agreement is not disclosed.
“They agreed to pay for the coverage so long as I agreed to not say anything negative about the game,” he said, adding that he refused the offer. "I don't know how I'd live with myself. It's taking your passion and selling it out for a small pay-cheque. It morally bankrupts you."
Bain today said that he is promising full disclosure going forwards.
In the same article an anonymous PR agency rep told Eurogamer that: "We were once approached by a prominent YouTuber outside the world of gaming who suggested we pay them £10,000 to 'like' a video. We rejected it, but the feeling in the agency was that if they are asking for this kind of fee, then people are paying."
On the record, video agency Channel Flip’s Susi Weaser said that payments are not always limited to pre-roll ad revenue.
“We also broker sponsorship deals and product placement in YouTubers' videos,” she said. “The amount of money paid out varies wildly. It's generally in the thousands of pounds, but it might be dictated by the number of times the YouTuber has to say the product's name, for example."
Accusations were also aimed at EA, who allegedly offered £10 for every 1,000 views of a video created for its EA Ronku program on the condition that the commentary did not draw reference to any bugs. EA declined to respond to the claim.
Ubisoft is also said to have paid another of Channel Flip’s YouTube stars £8,000 to attend Gamescom and create video content – a fact that was not disclosed by the final content.
“YouTubers like other forms of media cover Ubisoft products as part of their own content programs and without incentives," a publisher statement responded. "As commercial content producer we have on occasion also asked YouTubers to develop paid-for bespoke content - but have not contracted a specific opinion or sought to influence reviews.
“We have not directly requested that any YouTuber hide the fact that he or she has been paid for content or that some component – e.g. travel – has been provided by us."
It was recently claimed that as many as 26 per cent of prominent YouTubers have been paid for coverage.