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YouTubers Made $70 Billion Over the Last Three Years

A large YouTube sign is pictured on a building in Playa Vista, California
Source: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

YouTube has become a haven for content creators over the last decade, with many now using ad-revenue partnerships as their primary source of income. This makes sense when you consider that the video-sharing platform has paid out a whopping $70 billion to creators over the past three years, and by the sounds of it, they aim to continue doing so.

The company has faced stiff competition for loyal creators in recent years following the rise of TikTok. Now, the Chinese-based app has begun to advise creators to post longer videos to increase their chances of being picked up by the algorithm (and compete with YouTube).

Just days after the advice from TikTok, YouTube CEO Neal Mohan sent out an email to creators on the platform that spoke about their commitment to paying more for longer content.

Mohan’s announcement comes amidst a period of competition for both social media platforms and broader streaming services such as Netflix. When speaking on the future of YouTube and its creators, Mohan said, “Creators should be recognized as next-generation studios.”

He continued, “[Creators] are redefining the future of the entertainment industry with top-notch storytelling that can’t be dismissed as simply ‘user-generated content.”

In one portion of the statement, Mohan reiterated the benefits of a partnership with YouTube by claiming that over $70 billion has been paid out to creators in the past three years. The company also added around 3 million channels to its exclusive partner program over the same period, which gives creators a share of YouTube’s ad revenue, amongst other benefits.


Mohan wrote that YouTube channels have become incredibly popular: “They’re watching YouTube the way we used to sit down together for traditional TV shows.”

On a single day, over 1 billion hours of content are watched by YouTube users. The shift away from cable has led to creators embracing the idea that many users will sit down to watch their videos on TV, forcing them to optimize their content for home viewing.

“This year, we’ll help policymakers and partners across the industry see the economic and entertainment value that creators bring to the table,” he said.

The YouTube CEO promised creators the company would push to ensure government officials take into account the effect their jobs have on the wider economy.

“Being a creator is a full-time job with an international audience, but most governments don’t account for creators in their labor data,” he said. “We alleged creators should be recognized for their work, and creators at the top of their game should be acknowledged in key industry forums.”

YouTube also plans to utilize AI to provide creators with more tools to ensure help with the creation of content. “AI innovation will make it possible for even more people to create,” Mohan wrote. “We’ll continue to ensure AI is in service of creativity through our work with creative industries, in the rollout of AI-powered features, and as we unlock opportunities while building out appropriate protections.”


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