The world of YouTube is vastly different from the world of broadcast television. While broadcasters in the United States and abroad are bound by rules, and the threat of punishment for breaking those rules, far fewer such regulations apply to the creators of YouTube content, or to YouTube itself. YouTube’s default position is that no one under 13 is watching videos on its site—because that’s the minimum age allowed under its terms of service. In addition to its main site, however, the company has developed an app called YouTube Kids. Like normal YouTube, it plays videos, but the design and content are specifically made for parents and children. It’s very good. It draws on the expertise of well-established children’s-media companies. Parents can restrict their children’s viewing in a multitude of ways, such as allowing access only to content handpicked by PBS Kids. But here’s the problem: Just a small fraction of YouTube’s 1.9 billion monthly viewers use it. (YouTube Kids is not available in as many countries as normal YouTube is.)
The idea of making millions off of videos the way YouTubers like PewDiePie famously have certainly seems like a pseudo-new-American Dream. And while not all of us will reach internet stardom with our videos, it might be worth looking into how you could make a few dimes from the popular platform. So, how do you make money from YouTube, and what will you need?
“[P]ewdiepie is, once again, doing exactly what neo-nazis want,” Kotaku reporter Nathan Grayson commented on Twitter in response to the incident. “[W]hether he’s just memeing or he ascribes to these values, it doesn’t matter. [W]hat matters is that he normalizes these ideas as jokes on THE platform where kids increasingly get their first exposure to the world at large.”
Since PewDiePie’s December 9 video drew greater attention to the E;R channel, YouTube has reportedly suspended one of the creator’s videos and issued a strike against the account for violating the site’s community guidelines. The suspended video, which according to E;R had 2 million views at the time of its removal from YouTube, was ostensibly about Steven Universe — but it also contained four minutes of unedited footage of Hitler delivering a speech. YouTube has not yet responded to Vox’s request for comment.
And throughout many videos focused on Steven Universe, E;R presents the show’s characters as analogues for Jewish people, coding them with anti-Semitic stereotypes. In one such video, he portrays one character as a deceptive tool for a global Jewish conspiracy, as indicated by a montage of public figures and businessmen, and then ends the video with an altered version of a white supremacist slogan known as the “14 words.”
Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is almost precisely the problem that the rest of the media world finds itself in. Because quality is hard to measure, the numbers that exist are the ones that describe attention, not effect: views, watch time, completion rate, subscribers. YouTube uses those metrics, ostensibly objectively, when it recommends videos. But as Theodore Porter, the great historian of science and technology, put it in his book Trust in Numbers, “Quantification is a way of making decisions without seeming to decide.”
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.
The Death Note review that PewDiePie cited uses a racial slur to refer to one of the characters in the movie. The video also contains a reference to a false white nationalist conspiracy theory that Heather Heyer, the protester who was murdered at the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 — and whose killer was recently convicted and sentenced to life in prison — actually died of a heart attack.
On April 6, 2017, YouTube announced that in order to "ensure revenue only flows to creators who are playing by the rules", it would change its practices to require that a channel undergo a policy compliance review, and have at least 10,000 lifetime views, before they may join the Partner Program. On January 16, 2018, YouTube announced tighter thresholds where creators must have at least 4,000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months and at least 1,000 subscribers.
Also in November 2017, it was revealed in the media that many videos featuring children – often uploaded by the minors themselves, and showing innocent content – were attracting comments from pedophiles and circulating on the dark web, with predators finding the videos by typing in certain keywords in Russian. As a result of the controversy, which added to the concern about "Elsagate", several major advertisers whose ads had been running against such videos froze spending on YouTube.
After all, relatability is a YouTuber’s greatest asset — along with a willingness to keep plugging away. “If you’re passionate about it, you really increase your chances of success,” says Asano. “It’s a lot of work. To produce just one video, you need camera equipment, a computer to edit it on, and time. And if you’re just starting out, you’re not going to get paid for a while because you need to build your subscribers. Don’t do it because you think you’re going to make an easy buck, because it’s not.”
If you’re having trouble getting views, try to be creative on where you share your videos. Targeting an audience with an interest in your type of content works better than trying to appeal to a general audience, so you may find better results from a Facebook (FB) group, sub-Reddit or forum about the specific topic. Also be sure to set up your individual channel settings so if one video becomes popular visitors can easily find related videos you’ve created.
Apply to join the YouTube Partner Program when you feel confident in the interest and following your videos have garnered. There is no set following numbers needed to become a partner, but YouTube must see that your videos have interest and are growing a following before you're accepted. Sometimes YouTube will contact you directly about becoming a partner, especially if your videos have gone viral quickly. If not, you can apply on the YouTube partner page by entering personal information, describing a marketing plan, and defining your video genre.
YouTube Play Buttons, a part of the YouTube Creator Rewards, are a recognition by YouTube of its most popular channels. The trophies made of nickel plated copper-nickel alloy, golden plated brass, silver plated metal and ruby are given to channels with at least one hundred thousand, a million, ten million and fifty million subscribers, respectively.
The second involves YouTube’s annual year-end “Rewind” video. The 2018 video, released on December 6 and described by YouTube as “a who’s who of internet culture,” omitted a number of popular YouTubers, most notably PewDiePie. In response, PewDiePie’s followers started a campaign encouraging people to vote down the video, with the result that within a matter of days, YouTube’s 2018 Rewind video has rapidly overtaken an eight-year-old Justin Bieber single to become the most disliked video in YouTube history, surpassing Bieber as of early Thursday morning at 9.8 million dislikes and counting. By Thursday afternoon, the dislikes had topped 10 million.
Typically only offered to large YouTube channels with a wide audience (although not exclusively), another big way to earn cash through YouTube is to get sponsored deals with companies that will pay you to promote or mention their products in your videos. You can earn money this way either as a lump sum of cash the company will pay you for the deal, clicks on the company's link, or on a per-view basis.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.)
A TiVo service update in July 2008 allowed the system to search and play YouTube videos. In January 2009, YouTube launched "YouTube for TV", a version of the website tailored for set-top boxes and other TV-based media devices with web browsers, initially allowing its videos to be viewed on the PlayStation 3 and Wii video game consoles. In June 2009, YouTube XL was introduced, which has a simplified interface designed for viewing on a standard television screen. YouTube is also available as an app on Xbox Live. On November 15, 2012, Google launched an official app for the Wii, allowing users to watch YouTube videos from the Wii channel. An app is also available for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, and videos can be viewed on the Wii U Internet Browser using HTML5. Google made YouTube available on the Roku player on December 17, 2013, and, in October 2014, the Sony PlayStation 4. In November 2018, YouTube launched as a downloadable app for the Nintendo Switch.
In January 2015, Google announced that 360-degree video would be natively supported on YouTube. On March 13, 2015, YouTube enabled 360° videos which can be viewed from Google Cardboard, a virtual reality system. YouTube 360 can also be viewed from all other virtual reality headsets. Live streaming of 360° video at up to 4K resolution is also supported.