“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.
Some YouTube videos have themselves had a direct effect on world events, such as Innocence of Muslims (2012) which spurred protests and related anti-American violence internationally. TED curator Chris Anderson described a phenomenon by which geographically distributed individuals in a certain field share their independently developed skills in YouTube videos, thus challenging others to improve their own skills, and spurring invention and evolution in that field. Journalist Virginia Heffernan stated in The New York Times that such videos have "surprising implications" for the dissemination of culture and even the future of classical music.
Until last month, pretty much any random person could enable the “monetization” setting on their YouTube account and get ads on their videos, allowing them to earn a fraction of a cent for every time a person viewed or clicked on their content. That all changed in January, however, when Google (YouTube’s owner) announced new standards to merit those ads. Now, to be accepted into the “YouTube Partner Program” and monetize your channel, you need a minimum of 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch-time over the past 12 months; your videos will also be more closely monitored for inappropriate content. Meanwhile, YouTube also promised that members of “Google Preferred” — a vaunted group of popular channels that make up YouTube’s top 5 percent, and command higher ad dollars because of it — will be more carefully vetted. (These shifts followed the Logan Paul controversy, as well as a brouhaha about ads running on unsavory content, such as sexually explicit or extremist videos.)
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.
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.
In 2013, the average cost per thousand (CPM) for YouTube was $7.60. CPM (cost per thousand) is an industry term that represents revenue per thousand views. In 2013, the average income for each YouTube content creator was $7.60 per every thousand views. A video with 500 views would have earned roughly $3.80. A video like Gangnam Style with a billion views would earn $7.8 million. Some videos earn a higher or lower than average rate depending on the video content. Videos containing copyrighted music do not earn revenue for the video creator, and some topics may not attract advertisers. Others have a strong draw from advertisers and drive up the CPM.
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.
Having outside income streams is especially important. After all, a change to how YouTube partners with and compensates creators could drastically shake up a YouTuber's ability to earn money with little warning. This happened in January, when the YouTube Partner Program boosted the eligibility requirements for monetization from 10,000 lifetime views to 4,000 hours of watch time within the previous year and 1,000 subscribers, leaving some content creators scrambling to reclaim their ability to earn money.
In March 2010, YouTube began free streaming of certain content, including 60 cricket matches of the Indian Premier League. According to YouTube, this was the first worldwide free online broadcast of a major sporting event. On March 31, 2010, the YouTube website launched a new design, with the aim of simplifying the interface and increasing the time users spend on the site. Google product manager Shiva Rajaraman commented: "We really felt like we needed to step back and remove the clutter." In May 2010, YouTube videos were watched more than two billion times per day. This increased to three billion in May 2011, and four billion in January 2012. In February 2017, one billion hours of YouTube was watched every day.