Smaller churches have not been able to host their online services at their requested time on YouTube. The online video-sharing platform has been moving the times for some users with less than 100 subscribers allegedly due to heavy traffic, but without informing them.
Pastor Stuart Chaplin of Bushy Hill Park Community Church in London recently complained about it on Twitter.
“If like @BHPCC you have less than 100 subscribers, you won’t be getting access to that feature (‘premiere’ an event at a set time) any time soon. Unfortunately, our attempts to mutually boost subscribers with other @theFIEC churches didn’t get us to the magic 100 figure, so we’re relying on a work round,” he wrote.
Later, Chaplin wrote, "I have at last discovered why @YouTube suddenly stopped premieres on the hour or at half-past for some churches. Basically, because of the increase in traffic due to COVID, YT decided to throttle access to these prime times for small channels.
“It’s pretty poor show from @YouTube to make a big change that affects a large number of users, and not inform them that it’s going to happen. I only found out why because I went hunting for a notification that was buried in the noticeboards three weeks after the problem began.”
Chaplin then had to request the church’s followers and other Twitter users to subscribe to their YouTube channel so that they had more than 100 subscribers. As of Monday, the channel had 128 subscribers.
“Huge thanks to all those who have supported us over the line to 100 subscribers. I hope that by next week, we will be able to premiere at 10 am on Sunday again!” he tweeted.
Chaplin also shared that he had been using “a workaround on YouTube.”
“If you change the status of the video to public at the time you want it can broadcast as an instant premiere,” he wrote.
The U.K.-based Premier Christian News was the first to report on the issue.
Responding to a question on YouTube’s support page, the streaming platform wrote, “We have been experiencing an increase in Premieres on YouTube during COVID-19. With a large number of videos all trying to premiere at the same time, some channels may be limited to posting at different 15-minute intervals (ex. You may see you can only post at 1:30 or 2:00 vs. 1:15 or 1:45). We’re continuing to evaluate this and will keep you updated here on this thread when we return to regular posting intervals in the future.”
Since early this year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced churches around the world to close their doors due to lockdowns to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Churches made their worship services available online only, with worshipers watching from home.
In the United States, a majority of churches indicated that they have reopened their doors though many are holding in-person services with precautions in place, according to the Barna Group.