As of this week, The Forerunner YouTube Channel surpassed the “one million video views” and “one thousand subscribers” mark.
If you operate a YouTube channel, you know that the beginning is slow going, but as the number of videos posted and number of subscribers increases the total numbers begin to snowball.
This is only a drop in the bucket compared to YouTube users who have gone viral. The all time favorite, of course, is “The Evolution of Dance” with the unlikely number of over 117,000,000 views (as of this posting Avril Lavigne has pulled slightly ahead). My most popular video to date is the first one I posted on YouTube in November of 1996 and in fact the first video I ever made. Abortion Clinic 911 Calls has a mere 223,000 views, which is .2 percent of some of the most “viral” videos.
Suffice it to say, competing with pop stars’ latest music videos and such silliness as “Charlie bit my finger” is a huge task. That is not to say it cannot be done. A friend of mine hit the 2.5 million mark with a video about Barack Obama and late term abortion: I Invented the Internet (Ep. 4: Kill and Destroy).
Another guy I know makes several hundred dollars a month just from Google Adsense with videos produced by other people (including a few of mine) that he got permission to use. This is with a 5000 subscriber base.
Doing some simple math comparing our numbers, I am guessing that a monetized video with hundreds of millions of views is going to make its producer a few thousand dollars a month — maybe tens of thousands — for doing nothing beyond possessing the rights to the video. Strangely, several of the most popular YouTube videos are not monetized — at least not with the YouTube/Adsense partnership program.
The future of all video is on-line channels that make their money from ad placement. I expect it will expand far beyond YouTube, but this is Life After Television.