YouTube as a company, in a relatively recent incident, hit news headlines after controversy erupted surrounding content creator Logan Paul and his time in Japan. Although Paul’s content could nicely be described as ‘Lifestyle vlogging’, his exceptionally poor behavior in videos came to a head when he posted a video containing graphic imagery of a dead body. What is perhaps more interesting, though, is the exorbitant lifestyle that Paul leads, attracting his viewers and allowing for ridiculous antics. Only a few years ago, most people would have probably laughed when told they could become exorbitantly wealthy just by having a successful YouTube channel.
This is, however, a growing industry. More and more people make all of their money from advertising revenue on their YouTube videos. Often, after becoming successful, they will expand their brand to merchandise or occasionally working in TV. Ad revenue comes through Google’s Ad Sense, which utilizes the google algorithm to match advertisers with creators. Although the exact revenue per view will vary depending on the type of video being made (as some channels tend to be more advertiser friendly) and the length of the video, but for a popular channel ad revenue could be as high as $100,000 per month. To give an idea of just how many subscribers some of these more popular channels accumulate, let’s take a look at one of my favorite channels: Video Game Dunkey. Dunkey, at the time of this article, has 4,628,145 subscribers. His most popular videos range from 8 million views to 17 million at the most. According to Social Blade, a site dedicated to monitoring popular social media users and content creators, Dunkey likely makes around $1,000,000 yearly.
The implications of this are interesting. YouTube is a unique social media platform in the type of content that is created there, but if advertising can fully support creators, it’s possible this could spread to other monetized platforms. Perhaps we as a society have entirely new entertainment media to look forward to in the near future. In the next few posts, I’m going to look at YouTube’s model itself, as well as some potential ethics issues that have arisen with YouTube.
Michael O’Malley is a Business Administration/Theatre Double major sophomore at USC. He enjoys long walks on the beach, screaming into the abyss, and dancing with friends. He grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and does know how to read.