Creators Finally Know How Much Money YouTube Makes, And They Want More Of It

Kevin Mwanza
Written by Kevin Mwanza
YouTube creators
In 2019, YouTube generated $15B in advertisement sales. Content creators on the Google-owned platform now want more money for their content. Image: YouTube Gif

YouTube content creators finally know how much revenue the online video platform makes out of their content and they want more pay for their efforts.

Google gave its investors information on how much revenue YouTube generates after acquiring it more than a decade ago.

In 2019, YouTube generated $15 billion in advertisement sales – close to what advertisers pay across all U.S. network television – up from $11 billion the previous year.

This is the first time that YouTube’s revenue figures have been released and analysts appreciated the transparency.

“Thank you so much for the enhanced disclosure,” Goldman Sachs analyst Heather Bellini said on Alphabet’s earnings call. “I think this is the best Google call — or Alphabet call — that I’ve been on since I covered the company.”

Ruth Porat, Alphabet CFO, told investors that YouTube pays out a majority of that advertising revenue to its creators. She added that the payouts belonged to YouTube’s content acquisition costs which run around $8.5 billion.

Many creators, however, feel they do not see nearly enough of that $8.5 billion.

YouTube’s top creators earn more ad revenue through higher rates because they generate a large number of views, given that their content is advertiser-friendly.

The other advertising revenue goes to the thousands of creators who belong to YouTube’s Partner Program.

CNN reported that Google has in the past lumped together key segments of its business such as YouTube, search, and cloud — breaking the finances down into Google’s advertising business and “other” areas of the business.

Many YouTube content creators said that advertising revenue is not reliable and they feel like they have to fight for it, turning to subscription services like Patreon.

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For many years, YouTube has used advertising revenue to entice creators to work on its platform, but the majority of the creators did not know how much YouTube was making. Now that they do, its feels like “a real seminal moment”, a YouTube employee told the Verge.

“Look, I get it,” Roberto Blake, a longtime YouTube creator told The Verge. “New creators, they’ve grown up with the romanticized version of what YouTube is and what a great platform it was. That might feel unfair because they missed out on that honeymoon period.”