“[P]ewdiepie is, once again, doing exactly what neo-nazis want,” Kotaku reporter Nathan Grayson commented on Twitter in response to the incident. “[W]hether he’s just memeing or he ascribes to these values, it doesn’t matter. [W]hat matters is that he normalizes these ideas as jokes on THE platform where kids increasingly get their first exposure to the world at large.”
YouTube carried out early experiments with live streaming, including a concert by U2 in 2009, and a question-and-answer session with US President Barack Obama in February 2010. These tests had relied on technology from 3rd-party partners, but in September 2010, YouTube began testing its own live streaming infrastructure. In April 2011, YouTube announced the rollout of YouTube Live, with a portal page at the URL "www.youtube.com/live". The creation of live streams was initially limited to select partners. It was used for real-time broadcasting of events such as the 2012 Olympics in London. In October 2012, more than 8 million people watched Felix Baumgartner's jump from the edge of space as a live stream on YouTube.
As it became clear that ChuChu videos were being watched by millions of people on six continents, Krishnan and Chandar started branching out into original songs and nursery rhymes, which Krishnan has been writing for the past couple of years. Their content runs the gamut, from an adaptation of “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush,” dedicated to tree planting as a way to fight global warming, to “Banana Song” (“Na na na banana / long and curved banana”).
After all, relatability is a YouTuber’s greatest asset — along with a willingness to keep plugging away. “If you’re passionate about it, you really increase your chances of success,” says Asano. “It’s a lot of work. To produce just one video, you need camera equipment, a computer to edit it on, and time. And if you’re just starting out, you’re not going to get paid for a while because you need to build your subscribers. Don’t do it because you think you’re going to make an easy buck, because it’s not.”
7. Turn to crowdfunding: There are two primary types of crowdfunding: recurring and project-based. Recurring crowdfunding lets contributors pay an amount they specify on a regular schedule. You’d want to maximize this type of funding in order to turn a channel into a substantial income stream. Incentives such as one-on-one video chats, private classes or merchandise can entice viewers to sign up.
In December 2012, two billion views were removed from the view counts of Universal and Sony music videos on YouTube, prompting a claim by The Daily Dot that the views had been deleted due to a violation of the site's terms of service, which ban the use of automated processes to inflate view counts. This was disputed by Billboard, which said that the two billion views had been moved to Vevo, since the videos were no longer active on YouTube. On August 5, 2015, YouTube removed the feature which caused a video's view count to freeze at "301" (later "301+") until the actual count was verified to prevent view count fraud. YouTube view counts once again updated in real time.
But even if you discount YouTube's multiples a bit to account for its profit uncertainty, you're still left with a very valuable business. At six times Mizuho's revenue estimate, YouTube would be worth $90 billion. At seven times, it would be worth $105 billion. And those valuation figures would rise a little more if one tacked on a slight premium (say, $5 billion or $10 billion) for the potential of YouTube's subscription businesses.
Once you link your AdSense account to your YouTube account, you will receive credit for each video’s monthly revenue. Once you accumulate $100 in earnings, Google will issue a payment to your bank account. You can choose to be paid via direct deposit (not available in all countries) or check—direct deposit is the fastest method and has no fee. If you are located in the United States and earn more than $600 per year, Google will issue a 1099 form. Either way, you are required to pay income tax on your earnings.
Most videos enable users to leave comments, and these have attracted attention for the negative aspects of both their form and content. In 2006, Time praised Web 2.0 for enabling "community and collaboration on a scale never seen before", and added that YouTube "harnesses the stupidity of crowds as well as its wisdom. Some of the comments on YouTube make you weep for the future of humanity just for the spelling alone, never mind the obscenity and the naked hatred". The Guardian in 2009 described users' comments on YouTube as:
YouTube's policies on "advertiser-friendly content" restrict what may be incorporated into videos being monetized; this includes strong violence, language, sexual content, and "controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown", unless the content is "usually newsworthy or comedic and the creator's intent is to inform or entertain". In September 2016, after introducing an enhanced notification system to inform users of these violations, YouTube's policies were criticized by prominent users, including Phillip DeFranco and Vlogbrothers. DeFranco argued that not being able to earn advertising revenue on such videos was "censorship by a different name". A YouTube spokesperson stated that while the policy itself was not new, the service had "improved the notification and appeal process to ensure better communication to our creators".
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.
To an adult, the appeal of ChuChu videos is not totally obvious. On the one hand, the songs are catchy, the colors are bright, and the characters are cute. On the other, the animation is two-dimensional and kind of choppy, a throwback to the era before Pixar. And there is a lot of movement; sometimes every pixel of the screen seems to be in motion. Krishnan and Chandar believe that any given shot needs to include many different things a child could notice: A bird flying in the background. Something wiggling. These things hold kids’ attention.
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". 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". 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." 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. 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. 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. 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". The next year, YouTube added a music button to the video bar that played samples from "Sandstorm" by Darude. In 2016, YouTube introduced an option to watch every video on the platform in 360-degree mode with Snoop Dogg.
Before you can start getting paid, you'll need to reach the payment threshold. This varies depending on your currency. In the US, the payment threshold is $100. This means you'll need to earn $100 before you can start collecting any money. If you've hit your payment threshold, you'll be paid around the 21st of every month. If you didn't meet the threshold, that money will be rolled over into next month's amount.
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.”
Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is almost precisely the problem that the rest of the media world finds itself in. Because quality is hard to measure, the numbers that exist are the ones that describe attention, not effect: views, watch time, completion rate, subscribers. YouTube uses those metrics, ostensibly objectively, when it recommends videos. But as Theodore Porter, the great historian of science and technology, put it in his book Trust in Numbers, “Quantification is a way of making decisions without seeming to decide.”
Regardless of the exact number, it's safe to assume that YouTube's ad sales are growing at a rapid clip. On its earnings calls, Google has signaled that outside of mobile search, YouTube has been the biggest driver behind its rapid ad sales growth. Last quarter, "paid clicks" on Google's own sites and apps rose 59% annually -- this figure covers not only actual ad clicks, but (among other things) the showing of YouTube video ads that were watched long enough for Google to get paid.
Instead, YouTube success takes time and dedication. Kelli Segars, the co-counder of Fitness Blender, a YouTube channel with over 5 million subscribers, spent two years posting new workout videos every week before she and her husband could quit their day jobs in 2010 to focus on the brand full time. Still, without YouTube, Fitness Blender probably wouldn’t exist. “When we first set out to create free online workout videos, we found that most streaming platforms charged so much to host content that we were never going to be able to break into the industry at all, let alone offer free content to our (then nonexistent) audience,” says Segars.
ChuChu TV, the company responsible for some of the most widely viewed toddler content on YouTube, has a suitably cute origin story. Vinoth Chandar, the CEO, had always played around on YouTube, making Hindu devotionals and little videos of his father, a well-known Indian music producer. But after he and his wife had a baby daughter, whom they nicknamed “Chu Chu,” he realized he had a new audience—of one. He drew a Chu Chu–like character in Flash, the animation program, and then created a short video of the girl dancing to the popular and decidedly unwoke Indian nursery rhyme “Chubby Cheeks.” (“Curly hair, very fair / Eyes are blue, lovely too / Teacher’s pet, is that you?”)
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.
^ Popper, Ben (November 9, 2017). "YouTube says it will crack down on bizarre videos targeting children". The Verge. Archived from the original on November 16, 2017. In August of this year, YouTube announced that it would no longer allow creators to monetize videos which "made inappropriate use of family friendly characters." Today it's taking another step to try and police this genre.
In March 2017, the government of the United Kingdom pulled its advertising campaigns from YouTube, after reports that its ads had appeared on videos containing extremism content. The government demanded assurances that its advertising would "be delivered in a safe and appropriate way". The Guardian newspaper, as well as other major British and U.S. brands, similarly suspended their advertising on YouTube in response to their advertising appearing near offensive content. Google stated that it had "begun an extensive review of our advertising policies and have made a public commitment to put in place changes that give brands more control over where their ads appear". In early April 2017, the YouTube channel h3h3Productions presented evidence claiming that a Wall Street Journal article had fabricated screenshots showing major brand advertising on an offensive video containing Johnny Rebel music overlaid on a Chief Keef music video, citing that the video itself had not earned any ad revenue for the uploader. The video was retracted after it was found that the ads had actually been triggered by the use of copyrighted content in the video.
On November 6, 2013, Google implemented a comment system oriented on Google+ that required all YouTube users to use a Google+ account in order to comment on videos. The stated motivation for the change was giving creators more power to moderate and block comments, thereby addressing frequent criticisms of their quality and tone. The new system restored the ability to include URLs in comments, which had previously been removed due to problems with abuse. In response, YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim posted the question "why the fuck do I need a google+ account to comment on a video?" on his YouTube channel to express his negative opinion of the change. The official YouTube announcement received 20,097 "thumbs down" votes and generated more than 32,000 comments in two days. Writing in the Newsday blog Silicon Island, Chase Melvin noted that "Google+ is nowhere near as popular a social media network as Facebook, but it's essentially being forced upon millions of YouTube users who don't want to lose their ability to comment on videos" and "Discussion forums across the Internet are already bursting with outcry against the new comment system". In the same article Melvin goes on to say:
ChuChu’s headquarters take up the entire first floor of a blue-glass building with bright-yellow stripes. Rows of animators flank a center aisle that houses big, colorful flourishes—weird chairs, structural columns with graffiti on them—signifying “fun tech office!” The work floor is ringed by maybe 10 offices that house the higher-ups. ChuChu says it employs about 200 people.
ChuChu has changed over time—it has slowed the pacing of its videos, focused on the key elements of scenes, and made more explicitly educational videos. But in the wilds of YouTube, the videos with the most views, not the most educational value, are the ones that rise to the top. ChuChu’s newer videos, which have more of the features Johnson looks for, have not had the time to hoover up as much attention, so the old ones keep appearing in YouTube searches and suggestions.
When a video goes viral, YouTube is typically the driving force. As of 2011, YouTube is the third-ranked website globally, with hundreds of millions of users. While you might be using YouTube only to look up video of cute cats and funny pranks, other users actually generate a profit stream ranging from pocket money to money in the bank using their personal YouTube channels and the videos they create. If you want in on the YouTube gravy train, the first thing you should know is that it's not as easy as it may look.
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.
The ChuChu guys didn’t set out to make educational programming. They were just making videos for fun. How were they to know they’d become a global force in children’s entertainment? As time went on and the staff expanded, the company created a teaching series, called Learning English Is Fun, and worked with a preschool company to develop an app, ChuChu School, that has an explicitly didactic purpose. But generally speaking, Chandar and Krishnan just wanted their videos to be wholesome—to deliver entertainment that perhaps provided kids with a dose of moral instruction.
YouTube ads provided a big percentage of the Segarses’ income during those early days, and worked well with their content. “Our workouts require strategically placed water breaks, which easily lends itself to monetization/ads that aren’t intrusive to the user experience,” says Segars. “People even joke about how relieved they are to see ads and get a quick minute to catch their breath.” Meanwhile, that revenue allowed them to adopt a no-sponsor policy. “It has cut out a lot of monetization opportunities, but our audience is well aware of our stance and appreciates it,” Segars continues. “We think that trust is an important part of building a brand.” As a result, they’ve roped in a loyal audience that’s now willing to pay for a variety of workout programs and meal plans for sale on the Fitness Blender website.
In June 2014, YouTube introduced videos playing at 60 frames per second, in order to reproduce video games with a frame rate comparable to high-end graphics cards. The videos play back at a resolution of 720p or higher. YouTube videos are available in a range of quality levels. The former names of standard quality (SQ), high quality (HQ), and high definition (HD) have been replaced by numerical values representing the vertical resolution of the video. The default video stream is encoded in the VP9 format with stereo Opus audio; if VP9/WebM is not supported in the browser/device or the browser's user agent reports Windows XP, then H.264/MPEG-4 AVC video with stereo AAC audio is used instead.