The money you earn on YouTube is entirely dependant upon how many views your videos receive. If you have a large number of subscribers and all of your videos receive thousands of views, the ad revenue will be high. If your videos have a low number of views, those videos will not generate much in terms of revenue. “Gangnam Style,” for example, was a viral hit that received over two billion views and generated as much as $5.9 million in revenue. However, even popular users generally see views in the thousands rather than the billions, so earnings are considerably lower on average. As of 2013, it is estimated that one video with a million views can earn the creator between $800 and $8,000.

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.

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.
In June 2007, YouTube began trials of a system for automatic detection of uploaded videos that infringe copyright. Google CEO Eric Schmidt regarded this system as necessary for resolving lawsuits such as the one from Viacom, which alleged that YouTube profited from content that it did not have the right to distribute.[333] The system, which was initially called "Video Identification"[334][335] and later became known as Content ID,[336] creates an ID File for copyrighted audio and video material, and stores it in a database. When a video is uploaded, it is checked against the database, and flags the video as a copyright violation if a match is found.[337] When this occurs, the content owner has the choice of blocking the video to make it unviewable, tracking the viewing statistics of the video, or adding advertisements to the video. By 2010, YouTube had "already invested tens of millions of dollars in this technology".[335] In 2011, YouTube described Content ID as "very accurate in finding uploads that look similar to reference files that are of sufficient length and quality to generate an effective ID File".[337] By 2012, Content ID accounted for over a third of the monetized views on YouTube.[338]
Karim said the inspiration for YouTube first came from Janet Jackson's role in the 2004 Super Bowl incident, when her breast was exposed during her performance, and later from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Karim could not easily find video clips of either event online, which led to the idea of a video sharing site.[9] Hurley and Chen said that the original idea for YouTube was a video version of an online dating service, and had been influenced by the website Hot or Not.[8][10]