YouTube appears to be on its way out - as least as we know it today. The following is speculative although not purely conjecture. There are some supporting facts.
YouTube recently came under fire for running ads alongside "offensive content", including hate speech and other controversial topics which advertisers did not want associated with their brands.
A "restricted mode" has been in place on YouTube for a while. The criteria for what videos will be hidden in restricted mode has been expanded since the advertiser boycott against Google.
There has also been an effort to eliminate "fake news" from social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The definition of fake news has been somewhat nebulous and some believe the definition includes conservative news sources.
YouTube has also come under fire for censoring LGBTQ+ content under restricted mode, which some LGBTQ+ advocates say is harmful for young people looking for support groups.
YouTube Red launched on October 28, 2015 and offers ad-free, pay-only content by popular YouTube channels. There was some talk soon after the launch of some famous YouTube channels being threatened with effective take downs if they did not agree to participate:
YouTube TV is a new service that is going to launch soon: user link on tv.youtube.com This is a major move by YouTube to follow Hulu and Netflix in offering regular, mainstream television content for a paid subscription.
Hulu discontinued free, ad-supported content in 2016 and plans to launch a live TV service in 2017: user link on www.yahoo.com
Google has not been profitable with YouTube since buying it in 2006: user link on www.engadget.com With almost 5 billion videos viewed every day (some with ad-blocking software in use), the annual cost of running YouTube is $6.35 billion but the annual revenue generated from YouTube is only $4 billion.
With this in mind, it appears that Google is taking YouTube in the same direction as Hulu and Netflix. Google is not likely to continue with a $2 billion per year loss through YouTube. As YouTube operates right now, anyone can upload a very large number of videos on a regular basis and monetization is optional. This means that Google cannot generate revenue with unmonetized content.
To make YouTube profitable, channels will either be forced to monetize (and, therefore, have only monetizable content - no controversial or otherwise advertiser-shunned material) or join YouTube Red.
The effect this will have goes beyond a tighter control over video content on YouTube - it will eventually mean that YouTube will discontinue hosting non-monetizable content. It is likely that YouTube itself will eventually undergo a re-branding as a result.
Those hosting content on YouTube may face the need to relocate their videos in the coming two or three years.