In re: your second point, getting users to pay for content is absolutely part of the equation, but not the entire equation. The whole other half of it is creating ways to minimize the cut a middleman takes such that even if it’s zero sum game, more of the sum is going to the content creators, as well as developing new revenue streams that don’t require a direct cost from users to give direct profit to content creators.
“Another good idea is to include an opinion in the text and highlight a section of your video that supports that opinion. Follow-up ASAP with any comments you receive. And keep the conversation going by asking open-ended questions, linking to relevant content and thanking users for watching.” – Ashley Gwilliam, The 10 Best SEO Video Marketing Tips (From Top Experts), Lean Labs; Twitter: @lean_labs

Apply to join the YouTube Partner Program when you feel confident in the interest and following your videos have garnered. There is no set following numbers needed to become a partner, but YouTube must see that your videos have interest and are growing a following before you're accepted. Sometimes YouTube will contact you directly about becoming a partner, especially if your videos have gone viral quickly. If not, you can apply on the YouTube partner page by entering personal information, describing a marketing plan, and defining your video genre.

Still, one of the main ways (or easiest) to earn money on YouTube is through YouTube running ads on your videos. Once you get a certain amount of views, you can connect your account to a Google AdSense account, which will allow you to start earning money on your videos, according to USA Today. In order to qualify, you reportedly now need (as of January 2018) 4,000 watch hours in the past 12 months, plus 1,000 subscribers to join the YouTube Partner Program (which will get you ads and therefore cash from your channel). 
The online-video unit posted revenue of about $4 billion in 2014, up from $3 billion a year earlier, according to two people familiar with its financials, as advertiser-friendly moves enticed some big brands to spend more. But while YouTube accounted for about 6% of Google’s overall sales last year, it didn’t contribute to earnings. After paying for content, and the equipment to deliver speedy videos, YouTube’s bottom line is “roughly break-even,” according to a person with knowledge of the figure.

9. Know your audience. “Your audience has needs, and no two audiences are alike. This group of people that have started to follow your content, these are individuals that are interested in what you have to say. You need to be able to give them what they came for, while also being able to stay true to your brand. Finding that healthy balance between what your brand needs and what the audience wants is key to maximizing how you market your content. By using YouTube as a social media marketing tool, you’re connecting with the people who support you, while also growing your brand.” – Stevan McGrath, The 7 Key Ways to Be Successful on YouTube, BestTechie; Twitter: @besttechie
Estimates for YouTube's annual revenue, nearly all of which still comes from ads, vary a fair amount. But many of the estimates are now above $10 billion. At different points, Bank of America and Mizuho forecast that YouTube would post 2017 revenue of $13 billion and $12 billion, respectively. And in February, Baird's Colin Sebastian estimated YouTube is doing around $15 billion in annual sales.
For people who dream of making money on YouTube, there are lots of online celebrities and channels to aspire to imitate. There's makeup superstar James Charles, who became the first male CoverGirl model. Liza Koshy's fame on Vine and then YouTube has led to traditional film and TV gigs, including a role in a Tyler Perry film. Even pop star Justin Bieber got his start on YouTube. According to YouTube, the number of channels that earned five figures or more grew by more than 50 percent from July 2017 to July 2018. Channels earning six figures per year increased by 40 percent.
“Additionally, such branding is important for ensuring that your viewers remember the video, which is especially handy when they need to refer someone to it. Even though they might forget the actual content and the name of the video, remembering your branded footage will help direct viewers to your channel.” – Jon Clark, 7 Vital Elements of a Successful YouTube Video, SearchEngineJournal; Twitter: @sejournal
However, YouTube channels on the smaller side can still be monetized. Your earning potential isn't determined solely by the number of subscribers and views you have, but also by the level of engagement you generate, the niche you cater to, and the revenue channels you explore. That's not to say subscriber count doesn't matter—check out our tips to get more subscribers on YouTube.
I am an LA based video producer. I shoot, edit video, and capture audio. I also do consulting for brand growth and identity. I seek to further hone my skills, broaden my experience and create amazing content. -I shoot -I edit -I design motion graphics -I sweeten and mix audio Most of all I tell stories. If you need an video editor or producer with a knack for narrative and a big picture approach to brand, I am here for you. I am well versed in capturing in the field under every kind of circumstance. I work with a wide variety of software platforms, tools and equipment. Be it video, audio, still photography or all three at once, I have the skills and background required. I have over 5 years experience with Adobe Premiere, Photoshop, Lightroom, and Audition. My past clients include Super Bowl winning quarterback Trent Dilfer, World Series winning pitcher Adam Wainwright, and Hoverboard. I also also collaborate with non-profits, musicians, and small local businesses. I am passionate about new media platforms, particularly YouTube. I have been an active part of the community for over a decade. I have a keen understanding of brand identity and growing social channels. In my spare time I host a podcast, run a YouTube series, and photograph creatives for Instagram. Hit me up for any video editing, audio mixing or production needs.
Your video thumbnail will be the main image viewers see when scrolling through a list of video results, and it can have a large impact of the amount of clicks to and views your video receives. YouTube will auto-generate a few thumbnail options for your video, but we highly recommend uploading a custom thumbnail. YouTube reports that “90% of the best performing videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails.” When filming, think of high-quality shots that accurately represent your video. YouTube recommends using a 1280 x 720 px image to ensure that your thumbnail looks great on all screen sizes. 
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