Essentially it breaks down to this – you will no longer be able to monetize unless you have a subscriber base that is above 1,000 subscribers, with 4,000 hours of view time in the past 12 months. On February 20th, 2018, they will implement this threshold across existing channels on the platform, to allow for a 30 day grace period. On that date, channels with fewer than 1,000 subs or 4,000 watch hours will no longer be able to earn money on YouTube.
If and when your channel eventually reaches 1,000 subs and 4,000 watch hours they will be automatically re-evaluated under strict criteria to ensure they comply with our policies.
For new channels you will need to apply, and the application will be evaluated when they hit these milestones.
My two cents:
I personally don’t agree with this but it explains why my YouTube channel is still under evaluation for the monetization program even though I hit 10k views in December and am now at 60k+ views. I guess my channel won’t be accepted though, because I currently have less than 100 subscribers on YouTube.
YouTube did point out though that 99% of the channels being affected are ones making less than $100 per year in the last year and 90% earning less than $2.50 in the last month. But to that I say “so?” it’s still leaving money on the table.