Of course, YouTube is funded by advertisers. So it makes sense to pay attention to their wants and desires. But under the current model, brands’ reactions are often a placeholder for third party regulation. And at the moment – as content creators are sketching the line for appropriate content – it is often advertisers who have the final say about acceptability.
ChuChu is largely making things up as it goes, responding—as any young company would—to what its consumers want. Despite the company’s earnest desire to educate the kids who watch its videos, it has not tried to use the lessons generated by previous generations of educational-TV makers. Its executives and developers don’t regularly work with academics who could help them shape their content to promote healthy development of young brains. So what effects are ChuChu’s shows having on kids? How does what it’s producing compare with whatever kids were watching before?
That kind of growth suggests that something unpredictable and wild is happening: America’s grip on children’s entertainment is coming to an end. ChuChu is but the largest of a new constellation of children’s-media brands on YouTube that is spread out across the world: Little Baby Bum in London, Animaccord Studios in Moscow, Videogyan in Bangalore, Billion Surprise Toys in Dubai, TuTiTu TV in Tel Aviv, and LooLoo Kids in Iași, a Romanian town near the country’s border with Moldova. The new children’s media look nothing like what we adults would have expected. They are exuberant, cheap, weird, and multicultural. YouTube’s content for young kids—what I think of as Toddler YouTube—is a mishmash, a bricolage, a trash fire, an explosion of creativity. It’s a largely unregulated, data-driven grab for toddlers’ attention, and, as we’ve seen with the rest of social media, its ramifications may be deeper and wider than you’d initially think.
The outcry against PewDiePie’s recommendation of the channel was immediate, with media outlets and other YouTuber users citing it as an example of PewDiePie’s ongoing dalliance in alt-right culture. In response, PewDiePie released a follow-up video on December 11 in which he sarcastically described the incident as an “oopsie” and scoffed at the idea that he was promoting neo-Nazism by merely “recommending someone for their anime review.”
YouTube is one of the most popular websites on the planet, receiving billions of views a year and paying out millions to the content creators that it hosts. Money earned through YouTube is generated by advertisements. Content creators who host ads on their videos receive about half of the ad revenue those ads generate, while YouTube takes the rest. Anyone can monetize their videos, as long as their videos do not break copyright law.
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On the other side lie many, many YouTube users who visit the site for other reasons and other forms of entertainment, and who arguably aren’t interested in supporting the cult of personalities that might be said to represent “old-school” YouTube. Instead, they come to the site for music, memes, narrative media, instructional videos, and more general forms of content consumption and entertainment.
All the estimates by research firms and analysts, says Kirjner, are "based more on belief and anecdotes than on truly representative data. What's more -- beyond anecdotes either shared by Google or collected through discussions with ad buyers, creators and multichannel network operators -- we know very little about what is available on YouTube, what people watch and how much it gets watched."
Another focus for the viral video platform has been supporting the many creators who have flocked there to create videos. Actress and comedian Grace Helbig, whose channel has 3 million subscribers, joined the site three years ago to start her show because of the creative freedom. “There are no gatekeepers,” said Helbig, who appeared onstage with Wojcicki.
ChuChu does not employ the weird keyword-stuffed titles used by lower-rent YouTube channels. The company’s titles are simple, sunny, consistent. Its theory of media is that good stuff wins, which is why its videos have won. “We know what our subscribers want, and we give it to them,” Chandar says. ChuChu says it adds roughly 40,000 subscribers a day.
But each of the three videos PewDiePie featured in his since-removed shoutout of the E;R channel featured fairly obvious examples of the channel’s offensive content — in fact, not only did part one of the Death Note review that Kjellberg said he liked directly invoke a racial slur in its video description (the description has since been edited), but the first 15 seconds of part two contain a blatant reference to a 2017 incident in which Kjellberg himself dropped a racial slur, strategically edited but unmissable if you’re familiar with the clip in question — which most of Kjellberg’s followers would reasonably be.
The tech conceit of starting with nothing and growing a business into being profitable sounds appealing. Who wouldn't like to minimize initial investment? But the successes have typically required hundreds of millions, if not a billion or more, of investment to ultimately succeed. And there are many ways in which the grand concept can fall short the way theory sometimes does when faced with the reality of application.
Finally, leverage your YouTube reputation and attract live speaking engagements. If the YouTube channel you produce is focused on a specific niche or audience, do some research about annual conferences or other industry events that have keynote speakers. Then, utilize your YouTube statistics and some of your best clips, to put together a package and pitch to the directors of these events.
YouTube was founded by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim, who were all early employees of PayPal. Hurley had studied design at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and Chen and Karim studied computer science together at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. According to a story that has often been repeated in the media, Hurley and Chen developed the idea for YouTube during the early months of 2005, after they had experienced difficulty sharing videos that had been shot at a dinner party at Chen's apartment in San Francisco. Karim did not attend the party and denied that it had occurred, but Chen commented that the idea that YouTube was founded after a dinner party "was probably very strengthened by marketing ideas around creating a story that was very digestible".