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Executive Report - By Thomas Baekdal - October 2015

YouTube Creators, It's Time to Diversify

YouTube Red is out (in the USA), and the creators are not happy. In fact, feeling scared is the phrase I would use to best describe what I'm hearing. But, is there a problem? And what should we do about it?

Let's look at that.


One of the most exciting things about the connected world is that it allows individual creators to do things that used to be limited to big companies.

For instance, Etsy allows small-scale creators to make a living designing and selling things that would normally require a regular shop, a strong local market and partners who could distribute their products outside your local sphere.

It's the same with content. Never before have people been able to become publishers on their own. Just look at this site. I'm one person, working from home, which is based on a subscription model. This entire model would have been completely impossible just 10 years ago.

And to illustrate just how crazy this is, 96.4% of my subscribers are coming from outside my own country, coming from 49 different ones to be exact.

Think about how different that is from the world we used to have. Even if I had been able to launch my own magazine in the 1990s, I would have been limited to only distributing it in my own country. It would have been impossible for me to run a magazine in 49 different countries.

The biggest influencer, however, has been and is YouTube. YouTube was one of the first truly creator driven platforms, where you, as a creator, could turn your work into a business. True, we have been able to do that with blogs too, but no blog has seen the amount of success we see on YouTube.

So, YouTube is absolutely awesome. And it's still absolutely awesome. But, of course, things are changing.

Too much scale

The first problem we have today is scale. Usually, scale is great, because the more people there are and the more advertisers we have, the more money each creator will make. And this was the case for most of YouTube's early years.

This, however, changed in Q4 2011, when YouTube's CPC rates flipped and started to decline and have been continuing to decline ever since. In other words, each video view is now earning less than before.

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Baekdal is a magazine for media professionals, focusing on media analysis, trends, patterns, strategy, journalistic focus, and newsroom optimization. Since 2010, it has helped publishers in more than 40 countries, including big and small publishers like Condé Nast, Bonnier, Schibsted, NRC, and others, as well as companies like Google and Microsoft.

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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