Have you ever watched a YouTube star’s video and thought, I could’ve done that? Me neither. Out of all the influencer platforms, YouTube strikes me as the most intimidating. But it can also be the most lucrative, with top YouTubers earning well into the six figures from advertising revenue alone. And this pie is only getting expanding: YouTube recently reported that the number of users earning over $100,000 on the platform has increased by more than 40 percent annually; currently, 75 percent more channels have surpassed a million subscribers versus last year.
I’m sure you have seen a viral YouTube video. They come in all shapes and sizes—from super popular songs like “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” to a funny grumpy cat, someone falling down, or even something completely off the wall like Ylvis' “What Does the Fox Say?" video. What do they all have in common? Well, these posters all made a ton of money on YouTube when their videos went viral.
YouTube entered into a marketing and advertising partnership with NBC in June 2006.[286] In March 2007, it struck a deal with BBC for three channels with BBC content, one for news and two for entertainment.[287] In November 2008, YouTube reached an agreement with MGM, Lions Gate Entertainment, and CBS, allowing the companies to post full-length films and television episodes on the site, accompanied by advertisements in a section for U.S. viewers called "Shows". The move was intended to create competition with websites such as Hulu, which features material from NBC, Fox, and Disney.[288][289] In November 2009, YouTube launched a version of "Shows" available to UK viewers, offering around 4,000 full-length shows from more than 60 partners.[290] In January 2010, YouTube introduced an online film rentals service,[291] which is only available to users in the United States, Canada, and the UK as of 2010.[292][293] The service offers over 6,000 films.[294]
YouTube does not usually offer a download link for its videos, and intends for them to be viewed through its website interface.[126] A small number of videos, can be downloaded as MP4 files.[127] Numerous third-party web sites, applications and browser plug-ins allow users to download YouTube videos.[128] In February 2009, YouTube announced a test service, allowing some partners to offer video downloads for free or for a fee paid through Google Checkout.[129] In June 2012, Google sent cease and desist letters threatening legal action against several websites offering online download and conversion of YouTube videos.[130] In response, Zamzar removed the ability to download YouTube videos from its site.[131]
All YouTube users can upload videos up to 15 minutes each in duration. Users who have a good track record of complying with the site's Community Guidelines may be offered the ability to upload videos up to 12 hours in length, as well as live streams, which requires verifying the account, normally through a mobile phone.[78][79] When YouTube was launched in 2005, it was possible to upload longer videos, but a ten-minute limit was introduced in March 2006 after YouTube found that the majority of videos exceeding this length were unauthorized uploads of television shows and films.[80] The 10-minute limit was increased to 15 minutes in July 2010.[81] In the past, it was possible to upload videos longer than 12 hours. Videos can be at most 128 GB in size.[78] Video captions are made using speech recognition technology when uploaded. Such captioning is usually not perfectly accurate, so YouTube provides several options for manually entering the captions for greater accuracy.[82]

If streaming video followed the broadcast model, YouTube—in partnership with governments around the world—could also subsidize research into creating educational content specifically for YouTube, and into how best to deliver it to children. The company could invest in research to develop the best quantitative signals for educational programming, so it could recommend that programming to viewers its algorithm believes to be children. It could fund new educational programming, just as broadcasters have been required to do for decades. (“We are always looking for ways to build the educational content offering in the app in a way that’s really fun and engaging for kids,” Ducard said.)


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.

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But there is something the company could do immediately to improve the situation. YouTube knows that I—and tens of millions of other people—have watched lots of videos made for toddlers, but it has never once recommended that I switch to YouTube Kids. Think of how hard Facebook works to push users from Instagram onto Facebook and vice versa. Why not try to get more families onto the YouTube Kids app? (Malik Ducard, YouTube’s global head of family and learning, said in a statement that YouTube has “worked hard to raise awareness of the YouTube Kids app through heavy promotion. These promos have helped drive our growth. Today, YouTube Kids has over 14 million weekly viewers and over 70 billion views.”)

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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".[379] The Guardian in 2009 described users' comments on YouTube as:[380]
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.
ChuChu learns many lessons from parents, who provide the company with constant feedback. It heard from parents who questioned the diversity of its characters, who were all light-skinned; it now has two light-skinned and two dark-skinned main characters. It heard from parents who wondered about the toy guns in one video; it removed them. It heard from parents about an earlier version of the “Johny Johny” video, in which the little boy sleeps in a communal bed with his family, as is common in India; in a new version, he has his own room.
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.
It helps, too, that the same young viewers who eschew television in favor of YouTube are bonkers for video games. “Ten to 15 years ago, gaming wasn’t cool. You didn’t game because it was cool, you gamed because you loved it,” says David Huntzinger, a digital-talent agent at WME. “Now you have Drake going on Twitch and playing Fortnite, and [professional] athletes in the locker room saying they can’t stop playing Xbox—it’s what these kids are living and breathing.” 

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