Don’t think watching someone play PS4 sounds like fun? Markiplier’s 22.4 million YouTube subscribers, with their 10 billion video views of his work, beg to differ. Indeed, Fischbach is one of five gamers on this year’s list. The top 10 YouTube stars earned an aggregate $180.5 million this past year, up 42% from 2017. It pays to play: Compared with other common YouTube categories, such as scripted comedy or elaborate pranks, gaming clips can be produced and edited quickly; some gamers post new footage daily. More posts mean more viewers, naturally—and more ad dollars. (The going rate for top online talent, Forbes estimates, is about $5 per thousand views.)
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With 76 million subscribers, controversial gaming vlogger PewDiePie, a.k.a. Felix Kjellberg, is the most popular individual on YouTube. In a since-edited video posted on December 9, he recommended a litany of YouTube channels he said he’d been enjoying recently, briefly mentioning a YouTube channel called “E;R,” noting that it produces “great video essays,” including “one on [the Netflix movie] Death Note which I really enjoyed.” He also linked to the channel in his video description. (The recommendation has since been edited out of the video.)
Her answer was simple: “Bright lights, extraneous elements, and faster pacing.” In one of the videos I had her watch, a little boy dances flanked by two cows on a stage. A crowd waves its hands in the foreground. Lights flash and stars spin in the background. The boy and the cows perform “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes,” and as they do, the dance floor lights up, à la Saturday Night Fever. Johnson told me all that movement risks distracting kids from any educational work the videos might do.
This goes against what has drawn many audiences to the platform in the first place. YouTube has a history of LGBT acceptance – being the home of the “it gets better” videos, in which celebrities and public figures tell their coming out stories. Many people have also spoken about how YouTube’s videos on transitioning or mental health helped them greatly. So given this, it is hoped that going forward, YouTube also remembers to pay attention to their communities and audiences as well as the big brands and content creators.
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.
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.
YouTube has enabled people to more directly engage with government, such as in the CNN/YouTube presidential debates (2007) in which ordinary people submitted questions to U.S. presidential candidates via YouTube video, with a techPresident co-founder saying that Internet video was changing the political landscape. Describing the Arab Spring (2010– ), sociologist Philip N. Howard quoted an activist's succinct description that organizing the political unrest involved using "Facebook to schedule the protests, Twitter to coordinate, and YouTube to tell the world." In 2012, more than a third of the U.S. Senate introduced a resolution condemning Joseph Kony 16 days after the "Kony 2012" video was posted to YouTube, with resolution co-sponsor Senator Lindsey Graham remarking that the video "will do more to lead to (Kony's) demise than all other action combined."
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.)
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.
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.
Alternatively, you can partner with an existing merchandising network for creators such as DFTBA (Don’t Forget to Be Awesome). However, you'll be competing with other YouTubers in a marketplace and have less control over adding products, offering discounts, integrating your content, and all the advantages that come with owning your own ecommerce site.
In a video posted on July 21, 2009, YouTube software engineer Peter Bradshaw announced that YouTube users could now upload 3D videos. The videos can be viewed in several different ways, including the common anaglyph (cyan/red lens) method which utilizes glasses worn by the viewer to achieve the 3D effect. The YouTube Flash player can display stereoscopic content interleaved in rows, columns or a checkerboard pattern, side-by-side or anaglyph using a red/cyan, green/magenta or blue/yellow combination. In May 2011, an HTML5 version of the YouTube player began supporting side-by-side 3D footage that is compatible with Nvidia 3D Vision. The feature set has since been reduced, and 3D feature currently only supports red/cyan anaglyph with no side-by-side support.
YouTube has taken steps in recent years to entice more direct users, like creating exclusive deals with popular content creators, including Michelle Phan and Epic Rap Battles, and redesigning its home page to make it more of a destination rather than a repository. It has also addressed the issue that YouTube's core audience is too narrowly dominated by young viewers and this year signed a content deal with the NFL to host game clips and interviews.
Much of YouTube's revenue goes to the copyright holders of the videos. In 2010, it was reported that nearly a third of the videos with advertisements were uploaded without permission of the copyright holders. YouTube gives an option for copyright holders to locate and remove their videos or to have them continue running for revenue. In May 2013, Nintendo began enforcing its copyright ownership and claiming the advertising revenue from video creators who posted screenshots of its games. In February 2015, Nintendo agreed to share the revenue with the video creators.
In May 2014, before Music Key service was launched, the independent music trade organization Worldwide Independent Network alleged that YouTube was using non-negotiable contracts with independent labels that were "undervalued" in comparison to other streaming services, and that YouTube would block all music content from labels who do not reach a deal to be included on the paid service. In a statement to the Financial Times in June 2014, Robert Kyncl confirmed that YouTube would block the content of labels who do not negotiate deals to be included in the paid service "to ensure that all content on the platform is governed by its new contractual terms." Stating that 90% of labels had reached deals, he went on to say that "while we wish that we had [a] 100% success rate, we understand that is not likely an achievable goal and therefore it is our responsibility to our users and the industry to launch the enhanced music experience." The Financial Times later reported that YouTube had reached an aggregate deal with Merlin Network—a trade group representing over 20,000 independent labels, for their inclusion in the service. However, YouTube itself has not confirmed the deal.
YouTube's policies on "advertiser-friendly content" restrict what may be incorporated into videos being monetized; this includes strong violence, language, sexual content, and "controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown", unless the content is "usually newsworthy or comedic and the creator's intent is to inform or entertain". In September 2016, after introducing an enhanced notification system to inform users of these violations, YouTube's policies were criticized by prominent users, including Phillip DeFranco and Vlogbrothers. DeFranco argued that not being able to earn advertising revenue on such videos was "censorship by a different name". A YouTube spokesperson stated that while the policy itself was not new, the service had "improved the notification and appeal process to ensure better communication to our creators".
Instead, YouTube success takes time and dedication. Kelli Segars, the co-counder of Fitness Blender, a YouTube channel with over 5 million subscribers, spent two years posting new workout videos every week before she and her husband could quit their day jobs in 2010 to focus on the brand full time. Still, without YouTube, Fitness Blender probably wouldn’t exist. “When we first set out to create free online workout videos, we found that most streaming platforms charged so much to host content that we were never going to be able to break into the industry at all, let alone offer free content to our (then nonexistent) audience,” says Segars.
In December 2011, YouTube launched a new version of the site interface, with the video channels displayed in a central column on the home page, similar to the news feeds of social networking sites. At the same time, a new version of the YouTube logo was introduced with a darker shade of red, the first change in design since October 2006. In May 2013, YouTube launched a pilot program for content providers to offer premium, subscription-based channels within the platform. In February 2014, Susan Wojcicki was appointed CEO of YouTube. In November 2014, YouTube announced a subscription service known as "Music Key", which bundled ad-free streaming of music content on YouTube with the existing Google Play Music service.