Josh Chomik, a 16-year-old high school junior from NJ, told the NJ The Star Ledger that he’s making $1,000 per month from his videos as YouTube Partner with alias “Thecomputernerd01.” As I’ve reported a number of times, Michael Buckley, who hosts a celebrity gossip show on YouTube, quit his day job last year because his six-figure income was better than his day job as an administrative assistant.
Meanwhile, Credit Suisse speculates that YouTube will lose more than $460 million this year. Analyst Spencer Wang (let’s go easy on the name jokes) estimates partners make 0.4 cents, a number I’ve found to be wildly over stated.
I can’t validate this, but reported estimates of YouTube partner earnings range from $800 to $2,000 per million views. And nobody can tell you for sure, because it depends on where the videos are seen, how to ad inventory is sold, whether the ads are “pay per view” or “pay per click” and other factors.
But Wang attributes the real bleed from the horrific cost of streaming YouTube consumer-generated videos. While Partner content is profitable, the majority of video streaming is offset with paltry revenue from ads that fetch pennies per thousand views.
As a YouTube Partner, I have mixed feelings about this dilemma. I am confident that Google will determine a way to profit from its majority share in online-video viewing. But I feel like a shop owner in a mall that’s unprofitable.
- Will the mall close? Probably not.
- Will YouTube find a way to revitalize the mall by inviting major retailers (professional content)? Probably so. And just like a mall retailer needs foot traffic, I need both “views” and ads surrounding my videos… or I’ll be a corporate dude until I retire at age 90.
- But what will that mean to my little “Nalts” show? Will my shop be pushed to lower level, far from the foot traffic of the food court and major entry ways? Or will the pie grow so dramatically that I will continue to profit even with a smaller sliver?
As SNL alumnus Chris Rock says, “They’ve got the white mall, and the mall white people used to go to.” You know, I’m not sure that quote carried my analogy forward, but it’s funny anyway.
I am terrified of reporting my own income because I’m contractually forbidden (and I find it almost as obnoxious as my son Charlie flaunting to his siblings the 52 dollars he’s made for staring in my upcoming Oreo videos).
But I will tell you this…. Last month, thanks to an unusually popular Superbowl video (nearly four million views), I totalled about 7 million views. That gave my family our biggest Google check to date — still not enough to quit my job as a marketing director with four kids and frightening debt. But it was, after taxes, bigger than the 2008 annual bonus from my day job. Don’t get jealous, though, because our bonuses were weak this year and last month was not typical of my regular income (and remember I spend several hours a day slaving to create and promote my videos).
One thing’s for sure, though. If marketers and agencies fulfill the eMarketer projection on growth, it’s going to be a good year for YouTube, Partners, and those of us who want to enjoy free content even if it’s ad supported. Here’s the quote to which I refer:
Video ad spending this year, according to eMarketer, will run counter to overall economic developments, rising by 45% to reach $850 million