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How YouTube’s top stars like Russell Brand can make millions of pounds from their videos | Science & Tech News

YouTube is a major business platform for both Google and content creators. With two billion users and annual revenue of nearly £24.2bn, it has become a lucrative source of income for many creators. However, when sexual abuse allegations were made against Russell Brand, Google suspended ads on his channel. Sky News examines the importance of advertising revenue for YouTubers and explores alternative methods they use to make money.

Adverts are the primary source of revenue for Google and YouTube. The platform shares this revenue with creators who are part of its partner program. To qualify for ads, a creator’s channel must have a minimum of 1,000 subscribers, and viewers need to have spent 4,000 hours watching their videos in the past year. Alternatively, they can have accumulated 10 million views on YouTube Shorts, the vertical video feed introduced in 2020. Brand, with over six million subscribers and videos that consistently gather hundreds of thousands of views, easily meets these requirements.

In addition to meeting subscriber and view criteria, YouTube creators must adhere to the platform’s community guidelines, which prohibit nudity and hate speech. While certain types of misinformation are allowed (such as false claims about the 2020 US presidential election being stolen), creators must follow Google’s AdSense policies. These policies prevent repetitive content, the reuse of old clips, misrepresentation, and the artificial inflation of views. YouTube also emphasizes the importance of maintaining a positive reputation and behavior both on and off the platform to ensure advertisers are comfortable associating their brands with creators’ content. Any negative impact on the community can result in the suspension of monetization, as in the case of Brand’s allegations.

If a creator meets the criteria, they can apply to YouTube’s partner program and undergo a review. If accepted, they can run ads on their shorts and videos, with the number of ads increasing with the length of the video. The revenue split is 55:45 in favor of creators. The earnings from ads can vary greatly, ranging from $1 to over $30 per 1,000 views. Factors such as the season and the content’s engagement level can influence the fees. It is estimated that, solely from YouTube ads, Brand could earn anywhere from £57,000 to £810,000 per year.

Apart from ads, YouTubers also make money through sponsorships, where companies pay them directly to endorse their products in videos. This is where the significant income lies. Brand, for example, could be earning millions from such deals. His recent videos, featuring conspiracy theories about climate change and COVID-19, have included endorsements for a skincare company and VPN provider. Sponsorships give creators more control over their income, as they can negotiate their own rates instead of relying solely on YouTube’s rates. Controversial topics tend to drive more engagement and sharing on social media, leading to higher earnings for creators.

YouTube offers other monetization opportunities, such as channel memberships, where viewers can become paying members and enjoy exclusive perks. Creators can also connect an external online shop to their channel to showcase products and receive payments from fans in comments and live chats. Additionally, if a subscriber watches a video from a channel, YouTube shares the revenue it receives from its premium membership, which removes ads.