How YouTube created multiple revenue streams for the Creator Economy

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October 18, 2021 7:59 AM

As per the platform, it has seen a 60% year-on-year increase in the number of channels which earn more than Rs one lakh in revenue, as of June 2021

With more monetisation options at hand, the creators are exploring new avenues to up their revenue.

What was initially a pure form of entertainment is now a fully functional profession thanks to the rise in profession under gig economy. The ‘creator economy’ what it is called seems to have seen a steady upsurge globally and in India. Keeping the growth in mind, YouTube claims to be creating more monetisation options for creators besides the regular advertising based revenue share system. “It is very important for us to understand the different types of creators and their motivations. Fame, business objective, sense of purpose are the three primary motivators for creators who are on YouTube. As we have the most diverse set of creators, it is important for us to be creator-first,” Satya Raghavan, director, YouTube content partnerships, India, told BrandWagon Online. 

The video streaming service started primarily as an ad-driven platform, but now it has at least eight revenue streams on the platform, Raghavan claimed. As per the platform, it has seen over 60% year-on-year increase in the number of channels which earn more than Rs one lakh in revenue, as of June 2021. Besides rise in revenue, many of these creators have witnessed an increase in subscriber base. As per the platform, more than 140 channels have crossed 10 million subscribers in India, while more than 4,000 channels have over one million subscribers, as of June 2021.

With more monetisation options at hand, the creators are exploring new avenues to up their revenue. For example, with on-ground gigs being cancelled due to the pandemic, stand-up comedian Azeem Banatwalla used options such as memberships, Super Chat and Super Stickers to drive earnings. According to YouTube, he saw an 11 times jump in his membership revenue. Financial content creator Rachana Ranade, who started memberships in 2020, is now earning most of the revenue through the new feature.

As per Raghavan, the content consumption pattern on the platform has also evolved, especially in the last one year. 85% of video viewers currently on YouTube account for those who want to learn or improve their skills. As a result channels such as ‘StudyIQ’ and ‘Don’t Memorise’ among others claim to be generating a sizable subscription base. Hence, watch times of career videos have also grown by more than 60% in May 2021, compared to the same time last year. New verticals within learning such as farming, finance, food and engineering continue to gain momentum. On the other hand, existing verticals like technology, beauty and comedy are evolving to serve hyper-local content in regional languages. “A lot of creators are earning not only through ads but they are also building other revenue streams. All these initiatives have resulted in what we call a creator economy. As our user base, viewership, and advertising revenue on the platform grew, a lot of creators have realised that they can earn a living on YouTube. This creator economy is opening a whole new avenue for not just the youth but any user of the platform,” Raghavan noted.

Last September, a few months after TikTok (June 29, 2020) was banned in India, YouTube introduced Shorts. “In the early days, people used to make short-form content worldwide but then data became more available, and more and more people started creating longer videos on YouTube. But today our audiences not only belong to these cities but are also from smaller towns and villages. We have realised creation is different for different people on the basis of their backgrounds, their context, their milieu. We found people also want to express themselves through short videos,” Raghavan said. 

It is no surprise that music has emerged as a large driver in Shorts consumption. Besides, content around cooking, make-up tutorials, skin-care tips, hairstyle looks, comedy are doing well on the platform. Interestingly, the short video arm of YouTube is also seeing the emergence of Shorts creators tackling topics with social relevance.

However, the entry of Reel from Instagram and a number of homegrown apps such as Josh, Moj, MX TakaTak, Mitron, has intensified the competition in short video space. While asked about Shorts’ market position, Raghavan highlighted the fact that YouTube is the leader in advertising video-on-demand business and it has an extremely wide reach.

“At this point of time, we are very focussed on the fact that being the one with the largest reach, we can make a difference in the lives of many people. We have partnership in our DNA. For example, there might be another short-form video platform in the space but they might be working very closely with us as an advertiser. For example, MX TakaTak is also working as an advertiser. All of us have to grow the short video space collectively,” Raghavan said.

Read Also: As digital currency picks up pace Cryptocurrency platforms to spend Rs 150 – 180 crore in advertising and marketing in FY22

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