Like any good mogul, Fischbach is diversifying: In October, he cofounded an athleisure line, Cloak, with fellow list member Seán McLoughlin, better known as “Jacksepticeye” (No. 8, $16 million). The workout line includes $85 sweaters and $35 T-shirts. Even if they intend to exercise nothing more than their thumbs, fans have snapped the gear up: The presale items sold out in 48 hours.
What kind of sales multiple does this fast-growing video juggernaut deserve? It's tough to think of a direct comparison. Netflix, which trades for over eight times its 2018 revenue consensus, relies on subscription revenue rather than ads. And whereas YouTube largely relies on ad revenue-sharing deals with content partners, Netflix directly pays its content partners for their material.
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?”)
In a widely circulated essay last year, the artist James Bridle highlighted the many violent, odd, and nearly robotic children’s videos sitting in the vaults of YouTube. They didn’t seem made by human hands, he wrote, or at least not completely. Some were sadistic or sick. (After Bridle’s essay was published, YouTube undertook an effort to purge the site of “content that attempts to pass as family-friendly, but clearly is not,” and ultimately removed some of the disturbing videos the essay cited.) Others seemed like grab bags of keywords that had been successful for more professional operations: nursery rhymes, surprise eggs, finger family, learning colors. These were videos reverse engineered from whatever someone might enter into the YouTube search box. And though none of these videos has achieved the scale of ChuChu’s work, they definitely get seen, and are occasionally recommended to a child who has been happily watching something more virtuous.
If you think that’s alarming, especially given the many teens and preteens who watch and are influenced by PewDiePie, you’re not alone. In many ways, PewDiePie’s trollish irreverence and offense-proof shock humor embodies a more pervasive overlap between YouTube’s gaming culture and its alt-right culture. And the criticisms leveled at him in his role as YouTube’s most popular creator represent what seems to have become a larger battle to reclaim YouTube culture— a battle that in recent months has come to a head around PewDiePie himself.
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.
For example if your YouTube Channel happens to provide valuable video content for a very specific audience. Say the channel teaches business owner how to organize their finances, track their expenses and save money on taxes. Any company who is trying to reach business owners would love to place their ads on that channel because you would both share the same demographic. The people who view that channel are their potential customers.
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.”
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.
At the same time, YouTube is moving to develop subscription services. In November, YouTube announced a music-subscription service, similar to Spotify, that will offer ad-free listening and other tools for $10 a month. YouTube executives have discussed another subscription offering for non-music content, according to one industry official, which would be in addition to its existing ad-supported service.
Krishnan had no experience other than his own parenting. But if whatever he did as a parent worked for his kids, he felt, why wouldn’t it work for everyone? For example, when he taught his kids left from right, he liked to do it in the car, when they were in the back seat. That way, if he pointed left, it was left for them, too. So when ChuChu made a video teaching the left-right concept, it made sure to always show the characters from behind, not mirrored, so that when a character pointed left, the kids watching would understand.
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.
Turkey blocked access between 2008 and 2010 after controversy over videos deemed insulting to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. In November 2010, a video of the Turkish politician Deniz Baykal caused the site to be blocked again briefly, and the site was threatened with a new shutdown if it did not remove the video. During the two and a half-year block of YouTube, the video-sharing website remained the eighth-most-accessed site in Turkey. In 2014, Turkey blocked the access for the second time, after "a high-level intelligence leak."
In early May, Amazon announced a new service initially designed for "professional video producers." Launch partners include media firm Conde Nast, the "How Stuff Works" website and Samuel Goldwyn Films. Amazon Video Direct could compete for the young creative talent attracted to YouTube. As does YouTube, Amazon offers revenue-sharing and royalties for content that attracts a certain level of traffic.
YouTube also has a more democratic appeal. Unlike Instagram, where the biggest influencers are mainstream megastars in their own right (Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, Beyoncé), YouTube is dominated by homegrown celebrities, such as Jenna Mourey (a.k.a. Jenna Marbles), Mariand Castrejón Castañeda (a.k.a. Yuya, a Mexican beauty vlogger), and a bunch of gamers that I’ve never heard of but have millions of fans. The world’s highest-paid YouTube star is Daniel Middleton, a British 26-year-old who goes by “DanTDM” and gained his fortune (an estimated annual income of $16.5 million, per Forbes) by posting videos of himself playing Minecraft. Last year, he did an international tour that included four sold-out nights at the Sydney Opera House.
“The largest fucking YouTuber on the planet made a video that got 7 million views in 7 hours,” Hasan Piker, a commentator for the left-wing web series The Young Turks, said on his own YouTube channel. “That seems like a fucking big problem, especially if the majority of his viewers are 14-year-old kids who are going to go over to this fucking channel and start watching this guy’s cartoon videos. ... [E;R] has an interest in red-pilling people and turning them over to Naziism or to Fascist ideology. How do you think this will play out when PewDiePie hypes this guy’s fucking channel?”
Show you love your content: You need to be creating videos about something you love. Having a passion for your videos will make an affect on how they're received - if you seem interested, chances are your viewers will be too. If you don't love what you're doing you'll soon get bored and the videos will start to reflect that. Passion comes first, and the money comes second!
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?
There was some backlash over these new benchmarks, but frankly, the vast majority of people who lost their monetization privileges weren’t earning much anyway. Most channels make somewhere between $1.50 and $3 per thousand views, depending on their content and audience, and Google won’t even cut a paycheck for under $100 (or roughly 50,000 views — a pretty tall order for the average 14-year-old posting eyeliner tutorials). In other words, if you were looking for an easy side gig, YouTube was never the efficient choice.
Pakistan was tense on Thursday as countrywide protests against the acquittal of a Christian woman sentenced to death for committing blasphemy entered the second day despite Prime Minister Imran Khan's warning to defiant hardliners. Asia Bibi, a 47-year-old mother of four, was convicted in 2010 after being accused of insulting Islam in a row with her neighbours.
One of the biggest complaints I hear about video is that it’s so time consuming. It takes forever just to make one video. We’ve found a solution. We call it the, “Massive Video Production Strategy” This allows you to make the most amount of videos in the least amount of time and work. By using this strategy, some of our clients were able to shoot, edit, upload and optimize 30 videos in 9 hours.
On February 28, 2017, in a press announcement held at YouTube Space Los Angeles, YouTube announced the launch of YouTube TV, an over-the-top MVPD-style subscription service that would be available for United States customers at a price of US$35 per month. Initially launching in five major markets (New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco) on April 5, 2017, the service offers live streams of programming from the five major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox and NBC), as well as approximately 40 cable channels owned by the corporate parents of those networks, The Walt Disney Company, CBS Corporation, 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal and Turner Broadcasting System (including among others Bravo, USA Network, Syfy, Disney Channel, CNN, Cartoon Network, E!, Fox Sports 1, Freeform, FX and ESPN). Subscribers can also receive Showtime and Fox Soccer Plus as optional add-ons for an extra fee, and can access YouTube Premium original content (YouTube TV does not include a YouTube Red subscription).
Facebook and Twitter could pose new challenges to YouTube, because those social networks are creating their own video services. “If YouTube wants to move towards strong profitability, or to be profitable, they are gong to have to take that advertising and make it part of any actual programming,” Bajarin said. “And one way to have control over all that is to create their own content.”
Some investors and others have renewed calls for more transparency from YouTube in light of accounting rules and recent questions raised by the Securities and Exchange Commission about its disclosures. They say YouTube has become a material part of Alphabet’s business and an important driver of its growth, warranting quarterly disclosure of its revenue, costs and profitability. Some investors are also arguing that the lack of disclosure around YouTube could potentially be undervaluing Alphabet.
The online-video unit posted revenue of about $4 billion in 2014, up from $3 billion a year earlier, according to two people familiar with its financials, as advertiser-friendly moves enticed some big brands to spend more. But while YouTube accounted for about 6% of Google’s overall sales last year, it didn’t contribute to earnings. After paying for content, and the equipment to deliver speedy videos, YouTube’s bottom line is “roughly break-even,” according to a person with knowledge of the figure.
Knowing who you are and, perhaps more importantly, who your audience is will make you attractive to advertisers, sponsors and partners outside the YouTube sphere, experts say. Make sure to also set yourself up as someone who is "brand safe," says Tyler Vaught, head of Niche, Twitter's service that connects creators worldwide with brands to develop branded content. That could mean not using profanities, avoiding charged political topics and dodging drug references and other controversial topics on your channel.
Nobody likes content interrupted, commercials are at least half of why I stopped watching TV shows on TV. Besides a majority of youtube videos are ~2-5 minutes long, a 30 second ad is too long as a % of total time. Internet ads for video tend to serve the same ad repeatedly which is a big mistake. Our privacy will be sacrificed for targeted ads here too I’m sure.
This year, Heather Hund and her family will gather in West Texas on December 25 and solidify a new Christmas tradition, in which each relative is randomly assigned to give a gift to another family member and to a house pet. “The rules are basically a regift for the human and then $10 for the pet,” Hund told me. “And my 18-month-old son got put in [the latter] category too, so it’s small humans and small animals.”
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.
User entitlement -- A key to the plan of scaling up and eventually figuring out how to make money is free services for users. The minute you charge people, most walk off, particularly when they've been trained to assume that services should be free. YouTube has clearly told people that they should expect free video streaming, even if it has considered an ad-free paid subscription service. Getting consumers to change their behavior after they've become used to not paying is next to impossible.
YouTube has also faced criticism over the handling of offensive content in some of its videos. The uploading of videos containing defamation, pornography, and material encouraging criminal conduct is forbidden by YouTube's "Community Guidelines". YouTube relies on its users to flag the content of videos as inappropriate, and a YouTube employee will view a flagged video to determine whether it violates the site's guidelines.
YouTube was founded by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim, who were all early employees of PayPal. Hurley had studied design at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and Chen and Karim studied computer science together at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. According to a story that has often been repeated in the media, Hurley and Chen developed the idea for YouTube during the early months of 2005, after they had experienced difficulty sharing videos that had been shot at a dinner party at Chen's apartment in San Francisco. Karim did not attend the party and denied that it had occurred, but Chen commented that the idea that YouTube was founded after a dinner party "was probably very strengthened by marketing ideas around creating a story that was very digestible".