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.
If your end goal is to actually make money from videos, there’s a far better option than simply relying on your measly allocation of ad revenue. Instead, create a YouTube channel and build an audience. The primary goal is to engage this audience and build a brand name. Then, once you've established a reputation, begin driving traffic to your own landing pages where you can up-sell viewers with premium video content.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
All the estimates by research firms and analysts, says Kirjner, are "based more on belief and anecdotes than on truly representative data. What's more -- beyond anecdotes either shared by Google or collected through discussions with ad buyers, creators and multichannel network operators -- we know very little about what is available on YouTube, what people watch and how much it gets watched."
3. Check out YouTube Red: AdSense isn’t the only way partners can make money on YouTube. You can also make videos available on YouTube Red, which is the site’s ad-free subscription service. And if you have more than 1,000 active subscribers, you can put videos behind a paywall and enable Super Chat, which lets viewers pay to have their messages highlighted during a live stream. To use that feature, partners have to be older than 18.
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.)
And though they don't appear to be huge revenue contributors at this point, the YouTube Red and YouTube TV subscription services can't be overlooked when trying to value the company. Particularly YouTube Red, which provides ad-free YouTube, some original shows and access to the Google Play Music service for $10 per month, and which led YouTube to become the top-grossing U.S. iPhone app in March. Later this year, Google plans to replace Google Play Music -- in many ways Red's weak link -- with YouTube Remix, a music service that's fully integrated with YouTube.
How does a video streaming service with one billion active users per month and $4 billion in revenue not turn a profit? Ask YouTube, which couldn't break free from breaking even in 2014, according to a new report. Sources tell the Wall Street Journal that Google's video unit posted $4 billion in revenue last year, up from $3 billion in 2013, and that while the service accounted for 6 percent of Google's overall sales, it contributed nothing to earnings.
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!
New challengers also add urgency to her task. Facebook and Twitter Inc., which routinely send traffic to YouTube, are building their own video offerings. Facebook, and startups such as Vessel, are trying to poach YouTube stars. Meanwhile, Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc. are changing the image of “online video” by licensing Hollywood-produced content and creating original programming.
But sponsorships are where the big bucks are made, and where intermediaries like MediaKix and other agencies come in. This is the major leagues: Most brands aren’t interested in YouTube channels with fewer than 200,000 to 300,000 subscribers or average views of less than 10,000 to 20,000 per video, says Asano. The bar is also high because videos cost more to make, and require tricky negotiations —the sponsor will want to know where their product will be featured, for how long, and so forth. “When we’re connecting top brands with top influencers on YouTube, you’re talking a minimum budget of $50,000 to $100,000, and it just goes up from there,” Asano explains. “Some of the biggest YouTube influencers get paid $100,000 to 200,000 for a single video. And then those videos get millions of views. That’s why there’s a lot of money in the space.”
With two small kids in my own house, I haven’t been navigating this new world as a theoretical challenge. My youngest, who is 2, can rarely sustain her attention to watch the Netflix shows we put on for my 5-year-old son. But when I showed her a ChuChu video, just to see how she’d react, I practically had to wrestle my phone away from her. What was this stuff? Why did it have the effect it did?
YouTube is pulling in plenty of dollars – 4 billion of them in 2014, up by a billion on 2013 – but it’s also spending it like there’s no tomorrow. People “familiar with its financials” told the Wall Street Journal this week that after forking out for original content and also the infrastructure to keep the whole shebang going, the company is just about breaking even.
When a video goes viral, YouTube is typically the driving force. As of 2011, YouTube is the third-ranked website globally, with hundreds of millions of users. While you might be using YouTube only to look up video of cute cats and funny pranks, other users actually generate a profit stream ranging from pocket money to money in the bank using their personal YouTube channels and the videos they create. If you want in on the YouTube gravy train, the first thing you should know is that it's not as easy as it may look.
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".