This might not exactly seem like a tragedy. After all, Americans watch a lot of TV. By the time Nielsen began recording how much time Americans spent in front of TV screens in 1949–50, each household was already averaging four hours and 35 minutes a day. That number kept going up, passing six hours in 1970–71, seven hours in 1983–84, all the way up to eight hours in 2003–04. Viewing finally peaked at eight hours and 55 minutes in 2009–10. Since then, the numbers have been gliding downward, with the most recent data showing Americans’ viewing habits edging under eight hours a day for the first time since George W. Bush’s presidency.
Maybe better or more refined solutions exist, but if the history of children’s television teaches us anything, it’s that the market alone will not generate the best outcomes for kids. Nor is the United States government likely to demand change, at least not without prompting. Heroes will have to emerge to push for change in the new YouTube’d world, just as they did in the early days of broadcast children’s TV. And not all of those heroes will come from the Western world. They’ll come from all over the globe, maybe even Chennai.
YouTube featured an April Fools prank on the site on April 1 of every year from 2008 to 2016. In 2008, all links to videos on the main page were redirected to Rick Astley's music video "Never Gonna Give You Up", a prank known as "rickrolling".[236][237] The next year, when clicking on a video on the main page, the whole page turned upside down, which YouTube claimed was a "new layout".[238] In 2010, YouTube temporarily released a "TEXTp" mode which transformed colors in videos to random uppercase letters "in order to reduce bandwidth costs by $1 per second."[239] The next year, the site celebrated its "100th anniversary" with a range of sepia-toned silent, early 1900s-style films, including a parody of Keyboard Cat.[240] In 2012, clicking on the image of a DVD next to the site logo led to a video about a purported option to order every YouTube video for home delivery on DVD.[241] In 2013, YouTube teamed up with satirical newspaper company The Onion to claim that the video sharing website was launched as a contest which had finally come to an end, and would announce a winner of the contest when the site went back up in 2023.[242] In 2014, YouTube announced that it was responsible for the creation of all viral video trends, and revealed previews of upcoming internet memes, such as "Clocking", "Kissing Dad", and "Glub Glub Water Dance".[243] The next year, YouTube added a music button to the video bar that played samples from "Sandstorm" by Darude.[244] In 2016, YouTube introduced an option to watch every video on the platform in 360-degree mode with Snoop Dogg.[245]

National Geographic magazine has announced the winning entries in its annual photo competition. The grand-prize winner this year is Jassen Todorov, who will take home a $5,000 prize for his aerial image of thousands of recalled Volkswagen and Audi cars in the Mojave Desert. The contest organizers have shared with us the top winners and honorable mentions below, selected from a pool of  nearly 10,000 entries. Captions are written by the individual photographers and lightly edited for content.

Chandar met me and led me into a massive conference room. In addition to being the CEO, he composes music for ChuChu. He’s the public face of the company and, at 39, a few years younger than the other four founders, who each hold an equal stake. He sent a young man to get me a coffee, and then we sat down together with his friend B. M. Krishnan, a former accountant and a ChuChu co-founder who is now the company’s chief creative officer.


“The largest fucking YouTuber on the planet made a video that got 7 million views in 7 hours,” Hasan Piker, a commentator for the left-wing web series The Young Turks, said on his own YouTube channel. “That seems like a fucking big problem, especially if the majority of his viewers are 14-year-old kids who are going to go over to this fucking channel and start watching this guy’s cartoon videos. ... [E;R] has an interest in red-pilling people and turning them over to Naziism or to Fascist ideology. How do you think this will play out when PewDiePie hypes this guy’s fucking channel?”
Having outside income streams is especially important. After all, a change to how YouTube partners with and compensates creators could drastically shake up a YouTuber's ability to earn money with little warning. This happened in January, when the YouTube Partner Program boosted the eligibility requirements for monetization from 10,000 lifetime views to 4,000 hours of watch time within the previous year and 1,000 subscribers, leaving some content creators scrambling to reclaim their ability to earn money.
I don’t mean the kind of corruption that regularly sends lowlifes like Rod Blagojevich, the Democratic former governor of Illinois, to prison. Those abuses are nonpartisan and always with us. So is vote theft of the kind we’ve just seen in North Carolina—after all, the alleged fraudster employed by the Republican candidate for Congress hired himself out to Democrats in 2010.
The first two steps in earning online revenue with YouTube is to open an account and turn on account monetization. Enabling monetization requires accepting YouTube’s advertising guidelines and connecting to an AdSense account for payment. Enabling ads on your YouTube videos requires agreeing to Google’s ad revenue share for YouTube. There is a 45/55 split for all content creators, so Google keeps 45 percent of all YouTube advertising on your videos, and you get the remaining 55 percent.

And while PewDiePie only follows a few hundred people on Twitter, many of them are alt-right-identified figures — including Peterson, the prominent Gamergate writer Ian Miles Cheong, Infowars editor Paul Joseph Watson, the alt-right YouTube philosopher Stefan Molyneux, the alt-right Canadian blogger Lauren Southern, the recently “redpilled” YouTube personality Laci Green, and leading figures of YouTube’s reactionary right-wing community, like Dave Rubin and Ben Shapiro. PewDiePie also followed notorious alt-right YouTuber Sargon of Akkad until the latter’s suspension from Twitter last year. (Kjellberg has not responded to a request from Vox for comment.)

In any case, if you have incontrovertible evidence that YouTube is actually unprofitable today, and why that is (i.e. is it because they’re just investing all that profit back into growth, or are their upkeep costs truly just on the order of multiple billions of dollars?), would love to see it and adjust this accordingly. Doesn’t really change any of the points made though.


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.
Where eyeballs go, money follows. “People giving up TV and getting video content through mobile devices is a huge trend, and brands are spending huge amounts to reach those audiences,” says Evan Asano, the CEO of MediaKix, an influencer marketing agency. “It’s a similar, if not bigger market for influencers than Instagram.” Another reason brands love YouTube is that its numbers are harder to fake. “You can buy views on YouTube, but it’s much more expensive than buying followers and likes on Instagram,” Asano says. “It’s pretty cost-prohibitive to drastically inflate a channel’s views on a consistent basis.”
On one side lies many overlapping subcultures that make up huge swaths of the YouTube populations: its tremendous gaming communities, including Let’s Play-ers, live streamers, machinima-style editors, and vloggers; its prank cultures and their overlap with stunt personalities like Jake and Logan Paul; and its increasingly insidious alt-right presence.
Both private individuals[246] and large production companies[247] have used YouTube to grow audiences. Independent content creators have built grassroots followings numbering in the thousands at very little cost or effort, while mass retail and radio promotion proved problematic.[246] Concurrently, old media celebrities moved into the website at the invitation of a YouTube management that witnessed early content creators accruing substantial followings, and perceived audience sizes potentially larger than that attainable by television.[247] While YouTube's revenue-sharing "Partner Program" made it possible to earn a substantial living as a video producer—its top five hundred partners each earning more than $100,000 annually[248] and its ten highest-earning channels grossing from $2.5 million to $12 million[249]—in 2012 CMU business editor characterized YouTube as "a free-to-use ... promotional platform for the music labels".[250] In 2013 Forbes' Katheryn Thayer asserted that digital-era artists' work must not only be of high quality, but must elicit reactions on the YouTube platform and social media.[251] Videos of the 2.5% of artists categorized as "mega", "mainstream" and "mid-sized" received 90.3% of the relevant views on YouTube and Vevo in that year.[252] By early 2013 Billboard had announced that it was factoring YouTube streaming data into calculation of the Billboard Hot 100 and related genre charts.[253]
Controversial content has included material relating to Holocaust denial and the Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 football fans from Liverpool were crushed to death in 1989.[345][346] In July 2008, the Culture and Media Committee of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom stated that it was "unimpressed" with YouTube's system for policing its videos, and argued that "proactive review of content should be standard practice for sites hosting user-generated content". YouTube responded by stating:
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In December 2011, YouTube launched a new version of the site interface, with the video channels displayed in a central column on the home page, similar to the news feeds of social networking sites.[54] At the same time, a new version of the YouTube logo was introduced with a darker shade of red, the first change in design since October 2006.[55] In May 2013, YouTube launched a pilot program for content providers to offer premium, subscription-based channels within the platform.[56][57] In February 2014, Susan Wojcicki was appointed CEO of YouTube.[58] In November 2014, YouTube announced a subscription service known as "Music Key", which bundled ad-free streaming of music content on YouTube with the existing Google Play Music service.[59]
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