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How YouTube Playback Restrictions Wroks? – Subscriptions and Publishing: Updates and FAQs

Many time you may have come across a YouTube video embedded on your site or when you try to watch only to find out that you don’t have access to it! “There are many reasons why video playback can be restricted. The user might be in a country where the video is blocked, or the video’s content owner might have decided to block access to the video from all mobile applications,” informs YouTube.

The YouTube team has published a guideline for the to help those who’d like to prevent users from seeing videos that they don’t have the ability to watch.

Per YouTube API blog post:

  1. yt:accessControl
    Videos that are available for embedding on third-party applications will have the following:

    If you’d like to only search for videos that are embeddable, add format=5 to your query.

    Just as a video can be embeddable or not, it can also be syndicatable or not:

    A video that is embeddable but not syndicatable will play on YouTube or on other sites that embed the YouTube player, but may not play on devices such as mobile phones or TVs. If you’d like to learn more about retrieving videos suitable for playback on mobile devices, see the developer’s guide.

  2. Geo Restrictions
    Some videos may be restricted in certain countries. This restriction applies to where the viewer is located, not where your third-party server is located. For instance, if a video is blocked in the US, it will have the following:

    When you make a query, you can add a restriction parameter to filter videos that will not be playable by a client with a specific IP or from a specific country.

  3. yt:state
    It’s also important to check the yt:state of the video in the API response. Even if yt:accessControl indicates that syndication is allowed, yt:state might override it. For example, a video that has limited syndication would have the following:
        Syndication of this video was restricted by its owner.

    You might also see the message, “Syndication of this video was restricted by the content owner.” Hence, even if the uploader allows syndication, the content owner could override that and disallow syndication.

  4. Rentals
    Some YouTube videos are rentals. You can tell that they are rentals because they have a media:price tag:

    Note that the media:price tag is only included in the response if you use a developer key in the query. If you are building a non-browser based YouTube application where it would be impossible for the user to rent a video, you might want to filter out the rentals. You can do that by passing the parameter paid-content=false.

  5. Other Restrictions not Currently Exposed via the API
    For instance, some videos are only playable on a certain set of domains. The only foolproof way to know if a user has access to watch a video is to have them try watching it, explains YouTube.

    Going back to the video above, you might be wondering why it won’t play. If you look at its video entry:


    you’ll see that it’s blocked in all countries:

      BD BE BF...

    Furthermore, both syndication and embedding are disallowed:


The team at YouTube has also released an updated “Subscriptions and Publishing Guidelines and FAQs.”

“Delivering your videos is a two phased system–we process your video and then we deliver that video to your subscribers”.

  • Processing your video
    YouTube says they are working to make video processing even faster, more reliable, and continue adding related features that make your life easier like resumable uploads.
  • Delivering your video
    “We’ve rolled out a subscriptions delivery system that’s 20 times faster and more powerful, able to deliver your videos to even more subscribers as your Channels continue to grow,” YouTube said.

    Adding the team says “Once our processing improvements are complete, all the pieces should fall into place to make publishing a seamless and uneventful experience (as it should be).”

  • 0% Published problem
    What this generally means is that the video is waiting on processing to complete, before attempting to publish. Until the video has processed in all formats, the status will stay at 0%.

    “Don’t delete your video and reupload. Just wait for your video to become available on all formats you would expect–for a 1920×1080 video that means everything from 240p through 1080p–and then the 0% published should go away very quickly once all formats have processed,” explains YouTube.

    Adding, YouTube says “We’ve removed the confusing 0% published notification from the new video manager. The icon will now say “Sending to subscribers feeds” instead.”

    YouTube 0% Published problem fix

  • Published video isn’t appearing in feeds
    This is because the position of videos in the chronology of the feeds reflects the uploaded time rather than published time. This commonly happens when you upload a video as private or unlisted, then make it public 48 hours later.

    “If you expect to keep your video private or unlisted for an extended period of time before marking it public, consider using scheduled publishing to ensure it gets to the top of user feeds,” YouTube explains.

    “We’re looking at ways to make sure the order of videos reflects the published time rather than the original upload time.”

    YouTube Published video isn’t appearing in feeds

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