Ok, yes, you're right. I think sometimes these info pages have typos in them.Actually, it's 4,000 watched hours. Aside from my own channel, I've helped a few clients get theirs up and running and 4,000 hours isn't that hard to achieve. On my channel, I had ten episodes of a "survival" show (really just me backpacking) that found their audience and got the 4,000 hours real quick. Then I was able to monetize my $2000 feature and it's made about $10,000 since then and has 1.5 million views.
My point is that you can easily make some throw away content to get the views and subscribers, which will then allow you to monetize the real project. Pick a niche, create cheap, easy content for that niche, and the views will come. Again, I've seen this with my clients too. I've got a financial guy that does a weekly video about the stock market. Every Monday, I go film his update, drop in his power point behind him, and upload to his channel. The whole process takes five hours out of my Monday. In four months, his channel went from 5 subscribers to 9000, and he's had a few of his videos get over 40K views, one of them even has 400K. His channel has easily passed all the required metrics - in less than 4 months! Anyone can do this.
Here's the page I got as a top search result, which I copy pasted.
How Many Subscribers Do You Need to Make Money on YouTube?
How many subscribers do you need to get paid on YouTube in 2023? Depends on how you $$$ your channel. These are the requirements for...
but after reading your info I searched again and did find 4k watch hours was accurate.
The strange thing is that before I copied this article, I had read and been told at least once that 10k subscribers were required, so on both metrics, it's 10x easier to reach. Well that's a relief. I was planning on having to loose a lot of money just to get wheels up.
Still, I think that fiction works that can't leverage search terms have an exponentially more difficult time in popping up in search results.
So my fiction is called Labyrinth this time, and there's a famous movie, and 10k extant youtube videos with that word in them, ranked higher from having more views. I doubt it will work the same as time sensitive banking information, or weekly update shows. ,Advertising will be required for it to work, and at 4k or 40k, it's still cash up front. But that does make it far more reasonable. I can probably drive that kind of traffic for $1500.
I've also made 12-13k back on an indie film, but it took 5 months and 10 grand to make it, so basically, a huge loss for me. You know how filmmaking months are, sometimes I was out working 18 hours a day.