The great thing about sponsorships is that you don’t have to give YouTube a cut. Plus, you can negotiate whatever contracts you want based on impressions and the size of your audience. In most cases, the amount of revenue you generate from sponsorships is substantially more than YouTube ad revenue. (Meanwhile, you can still generate ad revenue. So it’s like having two sources of income from the same video.)
Advertising rates -- Online media in general has had major problems with ad revenue. Even though video ads pay better than banners or other text ads, advertisers only want to be charged for people who actually see the ads. The question of verifying the actual audience that saw an ad is a thorny one. Older media like print and television were hugely profitable in their heydays because they never had to show that the audiences they claimed were ever truly realized by advertisers.
“[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.”
In a video posted on July 21, 2009, YouTube software engineer Peter Bradshaw announced that YouTube users could now upload 3D videos. The videos can be viewed in several different ways, including the common anaglyph (cyan/red lens) method which utilizes glasses worn by the viewer to achieve the 3D effect. The YouTube Flash player can display stereoscopic content interleaved in rows, columns or a checkerboard pattern, side-by-side or anaglyph using a red/cyan, green/magenta or blue/yellow combination. In May 2011, an HTML5 version of the YouTube player began supporting side-by-side 3D footage that is compatible with Nvidia 3D Vision. The feature set has since been reduced, and 3D feature currently only supports red/cyan anaglyph with no side-by-side support.
Both private individuals and large production companies 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. 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. 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 and its ten highest-earning channels grossing from $2.5 million to $12 million—in 2012 CMU business editor characterized YouTube as "a free-to-use ... promotional platform for the music labels". 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. 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. By early 2013 Billboard had announced that it was factoring YouTube streaming data into calculation of the Billboard Hot 100 and related genre charts.
Of course, influencers have their own interests to look out for, too. “The process of creating a brand campaign is holistic, and the cost is not standard,” says Natalie Alzate, the woman behind NataliesOutlet, a YouTube channel with almost 6 million followers. “My manager, agent, and attorney work hard to ensure that each campaign is a success, which is measured by whether the fans respond to it as well they do to non-sponsored content.”
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.
Make your videos with a specific type of person in mind. This is basic advertising 101; identifying your target demographic. Don’t tell me that your demographics are 21 – 55 year old women. This is the shotgun approach that’s too general and vague. Do you talk to a 21 year old girl the same way you’d talk to a 55 year old lady? Of course not. Define your audience and create videos that’s catered to them.
The driver dropped me off just south of the center of the city, in an area of new high-rises that overlook Srinivasapuram, a fishing village on the Bay of Bengal. The village hangs on to the edge of the city, which has been modernizing fast; the government has been trying to relocate the village for years. From my hotel, I watched tiny figures wander over to the Adyar River estuary and squat, staring up at the opulence of the new Chennai.
The Hawaii native (real name Mark Fischbach) launched his YouTube channel in 2012 when he was a biomedical-engineering student at the University of Cincinnati. He was going through tough times: He’d broken up with his girlfriend, been laid off from his desk job and had an adrenal-gland tumor removed that surgeons found when they went to take out his appendix.
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One reason is that it caters to a narrow audience of young viewers. Music videos are its most popular content. YouTube’s stars remain relatively unknown. Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg is the biggest star, with 35 million subscribers to his wacky videogame montages. Even Ms. Wojcicki hadn’t heard of him before joining YouTube, she told a conference last fall.
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.
Making a lot of money on YouTube is not as easy as you might think. There are a lot of hurdles to overcome in the process. It's definitely not a way to get rich quick. However, if you have a hobby, are really good at a particular activity and would like to help people, are funny, or even if you just want to have some fun, YouTube is a great option to cash in some extra bucks doing something you love.
YouTube announced the project in September 2016 at an event in India. It was launched in India in February 2017, and expanded in November 2017 to 14 other countries, including Nigeria, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Kenya, and South Africa. It was rolled out in 130 countries worldwide, including Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, and Iraq on February 1, 2018. The app is available to around 60% of the world's population.
Later that year, YouTube came under criticism for showing inappropriate videos targeted at children and often featuring popular characters in violent, sexual or otherwise disturbing situations, many of which appeared on YouTube Kids and attracted millions of views. The term "Elsagate" was coined on the Internet and then used by various news outlets to refer to this controversy. On November 11, 2017, YouTube announced it was strengthening site security to protect children from unsuitable content. Later that month, the company started to mass delete videos and channels that made improper use of family friendly characters. As part as a broader concern regarding child safety on YouTube, the wave of deletions also targeted channels which showed children taking part in inappropriate or dangerous activities under the guidance of adults. Most notably, the company removed Toy Freaks, a channel with over 8.5 million subscribers, that featured a father and his two daughters in odd and upsetting situations. According to analytics specialist SocialBlade, it earned up to £8.7 million annually prior to its deletion.
This is partly because he was a creature of his era, born in the 1920s and active in an age when the whole argot was different. But he lived until 2011, well into the age of LGBTQ. He had plenty of time to make peace with the term, but his friends say he abjured it. “My recollection is LGBT or its derivatives were expressly disliked by Frank,” one of them told me. “He would use gay to cover the full range; or gay and lesbian.” Another said: “Frank was quite indignant about the alphabet soup. When it started in the ’80s with gay and lesbian, he correctly predicted that there would be no end of it.”
“A whole bunch of things happened that made me feel like I didn’t have any control in my life, so I had to do something,” says Fischbach, 29, who now lives in Los Angeles. At first he recorded audio snippets as practice for a potential career in voice acting, but he soon found an audience through clips in which he played video games while providing wry running commentary.
Used by countless popular YouTubers, Patreon is a site that allows viewers to donate monthly to their favorite YouTubers, and in turn, allows the YouTuber to (if so desired) give rewards back to the viewers. And, despite the site taking about 10% of the donations for themselves, most YouTubers make more money through Patreon than their own channel, according to Bustle.
You can also sign up for Patreon, which allows you to launch membership-only video channels through YouTube at a small fee per month for regular rewards. Just imagine how much a YouTube channel could generate if it has the 1,000 subscribers required by the YPP. Charge $1 for a new channel with new content, and you could be looking at a solid monthly revenue stream.
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.
New challengers also add urgency to her task. Facebook and Twitter Inc., which routinely send traffic to YouTube, are building their own video offerings. Facebook, and startups such as Vessel, are trying to poach YouTube stars. Meanwhile, Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc. are changing the image of “online video” by licensing Hollywood-produced content and creating original programming.
With two small kids in my own house, I haven’t been navigating this new world as a theoretical challenge. My youngest, who is 2, can rarely sustain her attention to watch the Netflix shows we put on for my 5-year-old son. But when I showed her a ChuChu video, just to see how she’d react, I practically had to wrestle my phone away from her. What was this stuff? Why did it have the effect it did?
With 76 million subscribers, controversial gaming vlogger PewDiePie, a.k.a. Felix Kjellberg, is the most popular individual on YouTube. In a since-edited video posted on December 9, he recommended a litany of YouTube channels he said he’d been enjoying recently, briefly mentioning a YouTube channel called “E;R,” noting that it produces “great video essays,” including “one on [the Netflix movie] Death Note which I really enjoyed.” He also linked to the channel in his video description. (The recommendation has since been edited out of the video.)
These two ends of a vast YouTube spectrum have clashed recently over two interesting and arguably related phenomena — both of which directly involve PewDiePie. The first is an ongoing battle that PewDiePie’s supporters have been waging in order to prevent his channel from being surpassed as the most popular one on YouTube. To keep this from happening, they’ve done everything from take out a Times Square billboard to reportedly hacking into 50,000 printers around the world in order to promote their “subscribe to PewDiePie” meme.
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.
For other YouTube creators, ad dollars only go so far, and a significant portion of revenue comes from sponsorships and “affiliate marketing” (when brands offer a commission on any sales or traffic that the creator’s content drives). Affiliates function pretty seamlessly through YouTube; anyone can include links to featured products in their video’s caption, and when audience members click through and buy them, that YouTube channel gets a small kickback. Many YouTubers prefer Amazon’s affiliate program, “Amazon associates,” although there are plenty more to choose from.
Also in November 2017, it was revealed in the media that many videos featuring children – often uploaded by the minors themselves, and showing innocent content – were attracting comments from pedophiles and circulating on the dark web, with predators finding the videos by typing in certain keywords in Russian. As a result of the controversy, which added to the concern about "Elsagate", several major advertisers whose ads had been running against such videos froze spending on YouTube.
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.
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.
The men know this with quantitative precision. YouTube analytics show exactly when a video’s audience falls off. ChuChu and other companies like it—whatever their larger philosophy—can see exactly what holds a toddler’s attention, moment by moment, and what causes it to drift. If a video achieves a 60 percent average completion rate, ChuChu knows it has a hit. Using these data doesn’t let it “crack the algorithm”; everyone has access to a version of these numbers. Instead, Chandar uses the analytics to tune his and other creators’ intuition about what works.
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.”
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.
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 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.