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YouTube has paid nearly $30 billion to creators, artists, and media organizations over the last three years. In 2019, T Series became the first YouTube channel to cross 100 million users. Few YouTubers have since crossed the number which many creators saw as impossible to reach. However, despite the fact that YouTube is paying creators per view, the income generated by creators drastically varies based on the country and region their viewers are from.
To be able to monetise from creating content on YouTube one must be familiar with the different sources of income the platform has to offer –
1. Revenue from the YouTube Partner Program (YPP)
To apply for membership in YPP, channels must meet the eligibility thresholds related to watch time and subscribers. Following application, YouTube’s review team ensures that the channel has not gone against YouTube’s monetisation, content and copyright policies. Only channels that meet eligibility thresholds and follow all of their guidelines are admitted to the programme, which makes them eligible to receive access to ads and other monetisation products.
2. Revenue from advertisement
This brings us to our second point, revenue from advertisement. The revenue that is generated from advertisement is often discussed in terms of the CTR i.e., the Click Through Rate or the CPM that is the Cost per Thousand Impressions. These tools help advertisers identify the YouTube channels that are most beneficial for them to advertise on. These rates vary from country to country and region to region simply because of the click through rate of the place. Indians usually click on 2-3 ads per 500 views, while the viewers in the USA or other countries click on 14-15 ads per 500 views. As fewer Indian viewers click on YouTube ads, Indian YouTubers earn less than the other YouTubers worldwide. That is why India’s CTR and CPC rates are lower than other developed countries.
3. Revenue through memberships
Channel memberships allow viewers to join channels through monthly payments and get members-only perks like badges, emoji, and other goods. Certain YouTubers have paid membership channels that allow access to only those who pay for the monthly subscription which is an added mode of income for the creators. This feature however is not available to all members, YouTube has a membership eligibility criteria which needs to be fulfilled in order for this feature to be accessible
4. Revenue through merch shelf
In certain regions, YouTube has launched a ‘Merch Shelf’ feature which allows subscribers to purchase the official merchandise of the creator off YouTube itself. The social media platform has in a sense marketed itself as an online shop selling official merchandise of the creator. The Product shelf below the videos and live streams will display up to 30 products to the viewers. The display order for the products is automated based on various factors, such as price, popularity, and availability.
5. Revenue through super stickers and chats
Subscribers can also as a paid feature purchase super stickers which allows them a better visibility on the comments sections. These stickers are paid and act as a source of income for the creator. Alongside the ‘Super Sticker’ feature is the ‘Super Chat’ feature that allows subscribers and fans to have their message highlighted in a live video. Since YouTube has a great deal of influence on the general public, the popular creators inevitably become in a sense celebrities and that is where the super chat feature comes into play as the subscribers pay for their messages and stickers to be highlighted.
6. Revenue through premium subscription
While it is evident that a lot of revenue generated for the content creators on YouTube is via advertisement, YouTube offers a paid premium subscription where ads don’t play. Over and above the ad-free service, YouTube offers in its premium subscription the option to download music and also play videos/music in background while using another app.
7. Revenue through collaborations and paid promotions
Lastly, a feature that is not offered by YouTube as a platform but is something generally available to creators is the option to collaborate with brands. Influencers by the virtue of their popularity are often the ones looked for by brands to promote their products in exchange for money. These transactions are often backed by small MoUs or Artist Collaboration Agreements which state the terms and conditions of the engagement. For those YouTubers who do not avail certain premium features, paid collaborations are a rather big source of income.
In conclusion, with the changing times the ways in which one can monetise their talents has vastly grown. YouTube is one of the well-paying platforms for creators and has shown tremendous growth since it was launched in 2005. The above mentioned are the few most prominent sources of income for creators on YouTube which as the growth of the platform promises will with time change and grow for the better.