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.
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The 1990s and 2000s saw the growth of cable TV channels targeted at children. With the rise of ubiquitous merchandising deals and niche content, powerful American media companies such as Disney, Turner, and Viacom figured out how to make money off young kids. They created, respectively, the Disney Channel, the Cartoon Network, and, of course, Nickelodeon, which was the most watched cable channel during traditional television’s peak year, 2009–10 (Nielsen’s measurement period starts and ends in September). Since then, however, little kids have watched less and less television; as of last spring, ratings in 2018 were down a full 20 percent from just last year. As analysts like to put it, the industry is in free fall. The cause is obvious: More and more kids are watching videos online.
Additionally, in response to PewDiePie’s rec of the E;R channel, its owner described PewDiePie as producing “redpilled content.” And it’s easy to see why. Before declaring in 2017 that he would stop making Nazi jokes, PewDiePie made a whole lot of Nazi jokes. Even since then, he’s produced a long line of “satirical” videos and commentary that his alt-right followers have praised as examples of his “dropping redpills” on the rest of his fans.
Chu Chu loved it. “She wanted me to repeat it again and again,” Chandar recalls. Which gave him an idea: “If she is going to like it, the kids around the world should like it.” He created a YouTube channel and uploaded the video. In a few weeks, it had 300,000 views. He made and uploaded another video, based on “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” and it took off. After posting just two videos, he had 5,000 subscribers to his channel. Someone from YouTube reached out and, as Chandar remembers it, said, “You guys are doing some magic with your content.” So Chandar and several of his friends formed a company in Chennai, in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, from the bones of an IT business they’d run. They hired a few animators and started putting out a video a month.
Watching my daughter play with my phone is a horrifying experience, precisely because her mimicry of adult behaviors is already so accurate. Her tiny fingers poke at buttons, pinch to zoom, endlessly scroll. It’s as though she’s grown a new brain from her fingertips. Most parents feel some version of this horror. Watching them poke and pinch at our devices, we realize that these rectangles of light and compulsion are not going away, and we are all dosing ourselves with their pleasures and conveniences without knowing the consequences.
Five years on, ChuChu TV is a fast-growing threat to traditional competitors, from Sesame Street to Disney to Nickelodeon. With all its decades of episodes, well-known characters, and worldwide brand recognition, Sesame Street has more than 5 billion views on YouTube. That’s impressive, but ChuChu has more than 19 billion. Sesame Street’s main feed has 4 million subscribers; the original ChuChu TV channel has 19 million—placing it among the top 25 most watched YouTube channels in the world, according to the social-media-tracking site Social Blade—and its subsidiary channels (primarily ChuChu TV Surprise Eggs Toys and ChuChu TV Español) have another 10 million.

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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Watching my daughter play with my phone is a horrifying experience, precisely because her mimicry of adult behaviors is already so accurate. Her tiny fingers poke at buttons, pinch to zoom, endlessly scroll. It’s as though she’s grown a new brain from her fingertips. Most parents feel some version of this horror. Watching them poke and pinch at our devices, we realize that these rectangles of light and compulsion are not going away, and we are all dosing ourselves with their pleasures and conveniences without knowing the consequences.

In May 2013, creation of live streams was opened to verified users with at least 1,000 subscribers; in August of that year the number was reduced to 100 subscribers,[106] and in December the limit was removed.[107] In February 2017, live streaming was introduced to the official YouTube mobile app. Live streaming via mobile was initially restricted to users with at least 10,000 subscribers,[108] but as of mid-2017 it has been reduced to 100 subscribers.[109] Live streams can be up to 4K resolution at 60 fps, and also support 360° video.[110] In February 2017, a live streaming feature called Super Chat was introduced, which allows viewers to donate between $1 and $500 to have their comment highlighted.[111]
“The way YouTube is distributed is not always conducive to ad revenue,” said Tim Bajarin, principal analyst with Campbell-based Creative Strategies, which tracks the the technology sector. “The YouTube ads are on the side, but they are not embedded in the programming, like you see in television.” The current YouTube format might be good for consumers, but that doesn’t mean it’s all that great for the bottom line, Bajarin said. “They are going to have to change things up,” Bajarin said.
Facebook (FB) , which trades for about nine times its 2018 revenue consensus, is still seeing 40%-plus revenue growth and has some big growth levers left to press, is arguably a better comp for YouTube, given its business model, network effect and market dominance. But Facebook is quite profitable -- in spite of heavy spending on data centers and content security, Facebook's 2018 net income consensus stands at $22.5 billion -- and based on comments made by YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and others -- YouTube's profits might still be minimal thanks to large data center and content investments.
Still, one of the main ways (or easiest) to earn money on YouTube is through YouTube running ads on your videos. Once you get a certain amount of views, you can connect your account to a Google AdSense account, which will allow you to start earning money on your videos, according to USA Today. In order to qualify, you reportedly now need (as of January 2018) 4,000 watch hours in the past 12 months, plus 1,000 subscribers to join the YouTube Partner Program (which will get you ads and therefore cash from your channel). 
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.
Because of the time you're allotted with this ad format, it's suggested that you create this type of ad with the goal of views and brand development, rather than just clicks into your website. This ad ideally generates revenue from the long-term brand awareness that comes out of a story people don't want to skip, and one viewers remember the next time they approach your product or service.
There are over a million members of the YouTube Partner Program.[298] According to TubeMogul, in 2013 a pre-roll advertisement on YouTube (one that is shown before the video starts) cost advertisers on average $7.60 per 1000 views. Usually no more than half of eligible videos have a pre-roll advertisement, due to a lack of interested advertisers.[299]
All that money is providing Google with more financial firepower to buy the rights to stream cable networks' shows on YouTube, too, which is likely to reel in even more viewers. It also is helping finance Alphabet's investments in projects such as self-driving cars and Internet-beaming balloons. That segment, known as Other Bets, lost $865 million during the July-September period, narrowing from a $980-million setback last year as Alphabet imposed more expense controls.
I worry about these questions a lot, and I wonder if our 21st-century American institutions are up to the challenges they’ve created with their market successes and ethical abdications. Even so, when I visited Chennai, I felt okay about the media future we’re heading into. The toddler videos that ChuChu is posting on YouTube are cultural hybrids, exuberant and cosmopolitan, and in a philosophical sense they presuppose a world in which all children are part of one vast community, drawing on the world’s collective heritage of storytelling. That’s a rich narrative rootstock, with lots of lessons to teach—and right now who’s better poised to make the most of it than ChuChu and companies like it, especially if they can learn from the legacy of American educational TV?

The way advertising works with YouTube is probably one of the most complicated things that comes with trying to make money off of YouTube. The real estimate comes out to about $7.50 per 1,000 impressions. The difficult part is actually defining the word ‘impressions.’ The only time you make money on YouTube is when someone interacts with your ad or when it leaves an ‘impression’ on them.
4. Use product placement and video sponsorship: Companies interested in your channel’s audience might sponsor your videos or offer you product placement deals in exchange for a shout out. You’ll likely receive payments on a per-sale basis or in commission tiers. Search on sites such as ShareASale, Clickbank and CJ Affiliate by Conversant for possible corporate partners — and be sure you’re willing to vouch for the company and products you’re selling before signing up.
At the end of the day, though, there are a lot of variables that can affect just how much you can make on YouTube. Your audience has a lot to do with the type of ad that would work best. For example, if you are making short funny videos, it’s probably best to not include a 30-second ad at the beginning—a viewer might just skip right on by. Luckily, YouTube has an analytics page that you can use to see just about every measurable aspect of your video—from demographics to time of day watched and location.
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]
In January 2018, the 23-year-old elder Paul brother was kicked off YouTube’s Google Preferred program, which gives favorable ad rates to popular channels, after he filmed a video in Japan that showed an apparent suicide hanging from a tree. He apologized. His income from videos (pratfalls, pranks) and brand deals took a hit, but loyal fans kept his hefty merchandise business afloat.
“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. 
On January 27, 2015, YouTube announced that HTML5 would be the default playback method on supported browsers. YouTube used to employ Adobe Dynamic Streaming for Flash,[76] but with the switch to HTML5 video now streams video using Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (MPEG-DASH), an adaptive bit-rate HTTP-based streaming solution optimizing the bitrate and quality for the available network.[77]
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