back to article NO ONE is making money from YouTube, even Google – report

It seems no one is making money from online goggle box YouTube, least of all Google – despite reports that the company generated $4bn (£2.6bn) revenue last year. While YouTube accounted for about six per cent of Google’s overall sales last year, it didn’t contribute to earnings, a source told the Wall Street Journal. YouTube' …

  1. Silviu C.

    "Last month the treatment of independent musicians by the company came under the spotlight again when cellist Zoë Keating alleged that Google had attempted to get to her to agree to unfavourable new YouTube terms."

    So, when Apple decided to stick it to the entire music industry (including indies) all weenies cheered and life was good. Music became cheap.

    When Google does the same thing, weenies boo and hiss because "oh noes, poor artists are starving".

    Good show, nerds.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Yeah, I absolutely hate abstract bodies of people that learn from their mistakes. People with humility and the ability for self reflection should be run out of town!

    2. Steve Todd

      Apple did this when? They offered to sell tunes on the iTunes store for a fixed 30% fee. Labels are free to withdraw from this deal, set the price band of their music etc. What they did, that the Labels didn't like, was to unbundle tracks. It turns out that the buying public did like this and the Labels made lots of money this way.

      Next they offered the Labels money for the right to provide cloud storage for tracks that users had already bought or obtained from elsewhere. Free money for doing nothing.

      Finally they have been working on deals for streaming on demand. I've not heard of them making other sales conditional on being involved in this program (which would probably get them in trouble for abusing their position in the market).

      The only ones ripping off the artists are the Labels.

    3. h4rm0ny
      Paris Hilton

      >>"So, when Apple decided to stick it to the entire music industry (including indies) all weenies cheered and life was good. Music became cheap. When Google does the same thing, weenies boo and hiss because "oh noes, poor artists are starving".

      Apple let me buy the tracks I wanted as digital downloads which is how I listen to them. Google shoves ads in my face and tells artists that if they don't sign up to certain terms Google will continue to profit from their music and just not pay them any more.

      I don't see the similarity, to be honest.

      1. qwertyuiop
        FAIL

        Ummm... no. You're NOT buying the tunes from Apple, at best you're renting them. If you don't believe me then here's an experiment:

        Go to your favourite music shop and purchase some music on CD or vinyl. Now go home and listen to it. Listen to it in your car, your office, wherever. Decide you really like this music and your friend would appreciate hearing it at his/her leisure. Lend the CD/vinyl to them to listen to wherever they want. Eventually (hopefully!) they return the CD/vinyl to you. You listen to it some more. Eventually you die (sorry, but it's going to happen to all of us). In your will you leave thhe CD/vinyl to somebody you like so that they can listen to it as much as they want, or lend it to their friends. When they die they too can bequeath it to somebody.

        Now repeat the experiment with music "purchased" from Apple. You can listen to it wherever you have the technology to get access to it - great. Now try lending it to a friend... or bequeathing it in your will...

        Maybe I'm old-fashioned - actually I *AM* old-fashioned - but to me "purchasing" something means that it's mine to use and dispose of as I wish, not as the "seller" dictates.

        1. G Watty What?
          Go

          times have changed

          "iTunes Plus is the new standard on iTunes. ...., and without digital rights management (DRM). iTunes Plus music can be burned to CD as many times as you need...."

          http://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201616

          So I buy from iTunes.

          Burn everything to CD.

          Give the CDs to the kids in my will.

          Maybe you can save the rubber on the soles of your shoes and use the internet as nature intended :)

          1. Matt in Sydney

            Re: times have changed

            Actually, unless you transcode (for bitrate, volume etc.) they are still "marked" with your itunes id ? Your heirs would not be "entitled" to the material.

            The great virtue of YouTube as it always has been, is to reduce email bandwidth consumption. If you remember we had people sending 5MB videos left right and centre on 4Mb/s networks, (or worse, 9600bps lines). Much more sensible to send a link.

            Similarly with twitter, prior to Mosaic, when most of us were using text based email where the headers where larger than the payload, we were concerned that sending binaries was abusive behaviour and that messages should be limited in size. (In fact it was everybody dowloading Linux and playing MUD that was probably to blame, as four-colour porn was not that great, and ascii-porn was awful.

            So noble an idea, and yet people tweet crap.

            So can we just consider youtube another act of google philanthropy and move on ?

        2. dz-015

          "You're NOT buying the tunes from Apple, at best you're renting them."

          It's no different with CDs. It's exactly the same regardless of the distribution medium. You can't own the music - the copyright holder owns it. You're just buying a licence to listen to it.

          "Now repeat the experiment with music purchased from Apple"

          Evidently this is something you haven't done yourself during the last few years, or you'd know that it works in exactly the same way as music obtained on CD. There's no DRM and you can do whatever you like with it, so long as you don't violate the licence you bought - just as with music purchased on CD.

          Better to check your facts before posting. God only knows how this nonsense got so many upvotes.

          1. N13L5

            re: You're NOT buying the tunes from Apple

            +1 for splitting hairs.

            +1 for also having your "facts" wrong.

            +1 for fitting in really well with any blow-hard beer-garden discussion.

            You're BUYING the license, not renting it.

            The license is indefinite and not revocable, unless you violate the license.

            Add to that worldwide laws that differ from country to country.

        3. Mnot Paranoid
          Holmes

          Death and Seagate

          I leave to my nearest and dearest this HDD backup of all my music files, that I have always renewed throughout my lifetime. In the root directory, please find a text file with the password to my Apple account. Should you get really stuck, this password is also written on the HD casing in marker pen.

          This shows you really care.

          1. dz-015

            Re: Death and Seagate

            "In the root directory, please find a text file with the password to my Apple account"

            You were obviously so desperate to do your anti-Apple rant that you didn't bother to read any of the other posts in this thread. Bit sad really.

    4. N13L5

      The perpetrator of this distorted article...

      ...shows his mean-spirited ignorance by calling Youtube "idiot viewer".

      Not even worth reading past that sentence.

    5. N13L5

      Greedle just says they're not making money to justify the next change of rules.

      Whenever you want to squeeze a division harder, you have to first publicly complain that you're not making "enough" / "anything". Of course, that's a lie. They just want more, much more...

  2. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge
    WTF?

    No-one at all? But I thought...

    That people were making gazillions of pounds posting videos of themselves playing and commenting on computer games, and posting shit videos of ugly cats and stuff???

    1. Indolent Wretch

      Re: No-one at all? But I thought...

      Well yeah, but the article skirts round that doesn't it in an attempt to be more scathing.

      Statement 1. Google isn't making any money. Well that's a disclosed fact (although since this website doesn't trust anything else Google says I wonder why that's just accepted).

      Statement 2. YouTube's "content generators" have also complained that the service also leaves them out of pocket.

      It then bangs on about someone with a cello, without explaining how they'd be out of pocket or who the other content generators are who are complaining.

      Not stated is the fact that we all know there are a lot of people making good money from YouTube a service they use for free.

      1. Mr.Mischief

        Re: No-one at all? But I thought...

        Had to give you an upvote. El Reg is so blatantly anti-Google and pro-Apple, its getting nauseating. Are they trying to become the Fox News IT.

        People are making money on Youtube. The company made some money, and spent it on upgrades to its service. El Reg spins that as "no one is making any money".

        And all the anti-Google shills jump on the bandwagon.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No-one at all? But I thought...

          People loathe Google because they are creepy, arrogant and have no respect for the people who create the content that their business leaches off.

          Loathing Google does not automatically equate to loving Apple.

          1. wayward4now

            Re: No-one at all? But I thought...

            I don't loathe Google at all. I enjoy free email, free Youtube, free Google Group and Calendar. Love it! It sure beats the hell out of the old AOL days when you got a surprise $500 bill for a month of over usage. So, sure I get tracked, but I'm not Elvis, so I doubt they get that much out of me, while I get all of those services. :)

        2. Esme

          Re: No-one at all? But I thought...

          .. and then you woke up. El Reg pro Apple? You obviously arent reading the same website as the rest of us!

    2. Steven Raith

      Re: No-one at all? But I thought...

      I'd wager that streaming a game broadcast costs less than having a video crew and production suite to make a 'traditional' video - see Motor Trends Roadkill series, ///Drive, et al.

      Roadkill have 30+ videos, almost all with over a million hits each, and they still need sponsorship from outside for it to make sense.

      I'm guessing paying a couple of professional cameramen and hiring a crew cab van to transport them (IE traditional way of making a broadcast video) costs more than the few grand a month per million hits that would make someone like pewdiepie/totalbiscuit perfectly capable of paying the bills without having external revenue.

      Steven R

    3. streaky Silver badge

      Re: No-one at all? But I thought...

      That people were making gazillions of pounds posting videos of themselves playing and commenting on computer games, and posting shit videos of ugly cats and stuff???

      I've seen enough filings to companies house to know people are, don't worry about that.

  3. TRT Silver badge

    Is anyone making a loss? Apart from of time, of course.

  4. ThomH Silver badge

    The adverts are getting more intrusive

    For sufficiently popular videos we now seem to be at unskippable multi-minute adverts as a preroll plus interruptions every seven minutes or so with a ten- or twenty-second insert. That makes a lot more sense as a roll of the dice: if they don't make the site profitable then killing it off is no bad thing.

    1. illiad

      Re: The adverts are getting more intrusive

      If you are not using Firefox, DO IT NOW!!! or even pale moon, if you are sick of being messed about by stupid 'themes' that cannot be removed... :/

      If you are, then you need to download these important apps... :)

      just type the below words in the address bar, or get your teen to do it for you... :)

      https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/adblock-plus/

      then get all the 'lists' from https://www.fanboy.co.nz/

      https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/flashblock

      https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox/addon/yesscript/

      1. Jes.e

        Re: The adverts are getting more intrusive

        "If you are not using Firefox, DO IT NOW!!!"

        If you are using the Android version use Bluhell Firewall instead of AdBlock Plus.

        For all Firefox installations also add Ghostery and Self-Destructing Cookies.

        Between ad blocking and the javascript reduction your bandwidth and processing load becomes smaller (so you can have more tabs open).

        Also restores the functionality of the "back" button, which can now use your local cache instead of refetching the page.

        ..This probably reduces page hit statistics on web sites as a side effect.

        However on my phone, I'm paying for the bandwidth AND my battery lasts longer.

        I feel sad for iPhone and Windows Phone users as they don't have the option to use a web browser which screens out all this junk. (has this changed?)

        [For reference, I'm not exactly running android, but am running Firefox on my BB..]

        !!WARNING!!

        Just yesterday I installed Chrome on a friend's XBUNTU installation so he could have an up to date Flash if he required it. (..Yes, I've been removing Flash from all systems as a general rule for the past three weeks. The hassle has always been too much, but Linux systems need to be purged as Adobe stopped providing updates some time ago, so all Linux Flash installations are obsolete!)

        Several worrysome things occured.

        First of all I've been using IXquick as my default search engine for some time now and in searching for "get chrome" I was presented with a number of websites *which were not Google* even though some of them claimed to be! Ghostery blocked several of these which were redirects and I allowed one to find I was not on a secure https connection and there was no information on who the web site was through Firefox's URL info box.

        I finally cruised over to Bing to find the proper URL link for the Chrome download. (I'm sure Google would have worked properly also..)

        Once inside of Chrome, and searching for the Adblock Plus plugin, I was presented with MANY false Adblock services..

        It's madness, I tell you, madness!

        (Madness takes its toll. Five cents please..)

        It's getting so that I as an (alledged) expert am getting confused by all the misdirection and scamming out there.

        Oh yes. FlashControl for Chrome. Goes without saying!

      2. Rimpel

        Re: The adverts are getting more intrusive

        I can't get youtube to work in palemoon or firefox, I have to use chrome on the very rare times I look at something on youtube. I assumed that this was by design on google's part! (I tried disabling adblock plus and ghostery but still didn't work)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The adverts are getting more intrusive

      Is that true? I use YouTube a fair bit and I've never ever been confronted by an Ad I couldn't skip after 30 seconds at the most. 5 seconds being much more typical.

      What percentage of these videos have such long Ads and could you direct me to one?

      1. ThomH Silver badge

        Re: The adverts are getting more intrusive @AC

        It looks like they're user targeted; transporting an example from one browser to another resulted in different advertisements. They're also likely campaign dependent.

        Right now if you happen to match the same criteria as I do then look for: at the start of the video, a woman complaining about TSA and other security aparatus or a man whose video starts in a garage with some car or other and with his promise that he's about to let me in on the secret of how he made his wealth; most persistent mid-video interruptions lately have been on behalf of Wayfair, which is a US online furniture retailer that I have recently used so there's likely some DoubleClick-or-whatever cookie involvement in advert selection.

    3. Mike Flugennock

      Re: The adverts are getting more intrusive

      DownloadHelper and Wondershare Downloader are your friends.

      http://www.downloadhelper.net

      http://www.wondershare.com/pro/mac-free-youtube-downloader.html

      http://www.wondershare.com/pro/free-youtube-downloader.html

  5. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Kitty litter

    > So what is the idiot-viewing platform actually for?

    Cats and their lonely owners.

    Am I the only person who habitually adds "-youtube" to their Google searches?

    1. Mike Flugennock

      Re: Kitty litter

      "Am I the only person who habitually adds '-youtube' to their Google searches?"

      Join the club.

      Whenever I've been rummaging around Google looking for tutorials/solutions to a particular problem or issue, I always exclude YouTube as I much prefer step-by-step tutorials with proper screen shots instead of watching a screen recording of somebody else doing the procedure, which I've always found confusing.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Babylon 5, season 4, Episode 20: "Endgame"

    S.C.O.R.C.H.E.D. E.A.R.T.H.

    Google Strategy 101: Anything and everything to ensure that there is nothing within one parsec from Google Search which can threaten its dominance. Pretty successfull too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Babylon 5, season 4, Episode 20: "Endgame"

      Your right Google offering up cat videos without cost is exactly the same as turning the space based planetary defenses back at the Earth in order to wipe out all life.

      Have you any more wisdom?

      1. Christopher Reeve's Horse

        Re: Babylon 5, season 4, Episode 20: "Endgame"

        Babylon 5's a big pile of shit!

        1. andy k O'Croydon
          Happy

          "Babylon 5's a big pile of shit!"

          I got the joke, even if no-one else did.

          1. bigphil9009

            Re: "Babylon 5's a big pile of shit!"

            Me too :)

  7. NotWorkAdmin

    No mention of AdBlock in the article

    I wonder how much that eats into their revenues. I'm frankly amazed they haven't (apparently) yet taken any action to prevent Ad blocking.

    I've watched the Feynman lectures on YouTube and not too sure how easily I'd have been able to enjoy them without it. I'm aware some people watch videos of cats falling out of trees, but that doesn't mean I have to as well.

    1. illiad

      Re: No mention of AdBlock in the article

      adblock is there before you!! :P :)

      Ignorant people please READ this... https://adblockplus.org/en/acceptable-ads

      YES, you will be 'let through' if you have decent, silent, non-flashy ads...

      oh, and fanboy has a list that STOPS those stupid 'you are using adblock' messages!! LOLOLOL

    2. SolidSquid

      Re: No mention of AdBlock in the article

      AdBlock regularly gets blocked by Youtube then releases an update to get it working again

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No mention of AdBlock in the article

      Sounds like they need revenue before they can worry how it's lost.

      Truthfully, what would Youtube's popularity be without the cats? It's funny to think that cats keep Youtube purring, but it's probably also the truth.

  8. dogged

    "Child-friendly advertising?!?"

    Do you mean this?

    or this?

    Nothing which attempts to sell products to children or attempts to harness "pester power" is acceptable.

    Ever.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Child-friendly advertising?!?"

      In a rare case of governement wisdom pre-dating the Internet era, the province where I live now has made it illegal to target children with ads.

      1. Indolent Wretch

        Re: "Child-friendly advertising?!?"

        Wow must suck for all toy manufacturers. How do you release a new toy? Or Mario game?

        1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

          Re: "Child-friendly advertising?!?"

          Depends whether it is 'toys' or merely merch.

        2. dogged

          Re: "Child-friendly advertising?!?"

          @Indolent Wretch -

          I think there's a case to be made for review shows (sort of like the Gadget Show only for actual kids) where reviewers have no pressure to actually sell anything. That gets the message out there but without the black voodoo of advertising fucking with your kids.

          A £10million ad campaign aimed at a 1630Hrs timeslot though - that's pretty much the definition of "blandly evil".

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Child-friendly advertising?!?"

          Wow must suck for all toy manufacturers. How do you release a new toy? Or Mario game?

          A review program would be better. The problem with children is that they do not yet possess critical facilities (come to think of it, this problem sometimes persist into adulthood, but I digress) and can thus be manipulated and misled. A further abuse of that naïvety and innocence is the "pester power" concept that someone has already mentioned, where kids are set up to gang up against their parents to buy something.

          Ads aimed at children must be reviewed with the utmost attention to detail, psychology and manipulation, and that is where "UK laws don't apply to use because we're American" companies like Google should definitely kept far away from your kids.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Child-friendly advertising?!?"

          Wow must suck for all toy manufacturers. How do you release a new toy? Or Mario game?

          Impel my thumb to move away from my fingers (you remember that old opposable thumb thing) and gravity pretty much takes care of the rest ...

  9. auburnman

    Financial break even is still a win for Google. Every time someone searches Youtube it reveals something about their preferences that has the potential to increase advertising revenue, across all their platforms if the user is logged into a profile. It's not all cats and pratfalls, there are tons of product demos, repair instructions and the like that are being exploited.

    Also I'm sure there are plenty of people making money on YT. Look at the new generation of gamers & game reviewers for a start. (Although how long they will stay on Youtube if Google keeps strong-arming the content creators is uncertain.)

  10. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    I think you'll find this is actually...

    Googles accountants say they are not making money. Where have we heard this sort of thing before?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I think you'll find this is actually...

      In every country where Google should pay taxes like the rest of us.

    2. Hellcat

      Re: I think you'll find this is actually...

      I thought this was the Princess in a Castle for accountants. Under no situations should you ever make any money. Break even, maybe even make a loss, but never profit!

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: I think you'll find this is actually...

        a.k.a The Hollywood Rules of Corporate Accounting.

        For example, none of the Harry Potter films made even $1 in profit.

        1. Sandtitz Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: I think you'll find this is actually...

          There's plenty of other examples as well: LOTR series, Return of the Jedi, Batman, Spiderman, Forrest Hump...

          Makes the Greek economy look legit.

  11. localzuk

    Give them a bit of time

    Youtube has had tremendous growth over the last few years. That growth costs a fortune in equipment and bandwidth. But growth can't go on forever.

    So, with them introducing things like subscription services and the like, I can see it becoming profitable very soon.

    I'm quite surprised that they haven't created a system like Twitch TV's subscriptions - ie. people can voluntarily pay a monthly sub, part of which goes to Twitch and part goes to the broadcaster. Offer silly perks, like special emotes and access to "sub only" pages and people do pay up. The content still remains free, but there's a nice steady stream of income.

    1. auburnman

      Re: Give them a bit of time

      I'd almost be tempted to pay them if I could just see a listing of decently time ordered new videos from my subscriptions as soon as I go there instead of whatever mental shit is trending/being pushed today.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @localzuk - Re: Give them a bit of time

      Voluntarily paying ?! What frog were you licking ?

      1. localzuk

        Re: @localzuk - Give them a bit of time

        Top broadcasters have thousands of subscribers on Twitch. Smaller ones can have dozens or hundreds. I voluntarily sub to 4 channels each month, as they provide hours of entertainment so why shouldn't they get some reward for it?

  12. ratfox Silver badge

    Amazon is not making money either

    So what? It's still useful. Should we complain?

  13. DJO Silver badge

    Colour me suprised

    What follows is purely hypothetical with no evidence to back it up whatsoever.

    You Tube are making a loss - Because You Tube are paying a Caymans Islands registered company $x million to use the name "You Tube" and by a happy coincidence is just the sum needed to reduce You Tube revenues to a level where no tax is due.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    No one making money from YouTube

    Really?

    You may of never heard of Zoella, so let me link this:

    "....we can exclusively reveal that the Zoella brand has made an estimated £10,642 a day these past 12 months."

    "And after pulling in 264 million views since February last year, that equates to £170,553 in video ads alone."

    http://www.nowmagazine.co.uk/celebrity-news/557673/as-zoella-moves-into-a-1-million-mansion-we-reveal-just-how-much-money-she-s-really-making

    Wish I wasn't making money from YouTube as much as she isn't.

    1. illiad

      Re: No one making money from YouTube

      yeah, ** youtube ** isnt making money, but the *advertisers* are!! and of course the *star* gets commission!!!!

      on most TV, if you mention a product, they send you money for advertising them .. LOL

    2. Andy 73

      Re: No one making money from YouTube

      Zoella and a few others are exceptions rather than the rule. Given the vast number of videos and channels that get posted to YT, a small set of outliers getting large amounts of attention (and therefore money) is to be expected.

      However, if you only get a 'normal' amount of attention (say, the sort of viewing figures that many BBC programmes get and are happy with), the revenue is dramatically smaller. Typically smaller than the production costs of even a modest 'proper' video.

      The economics seem to mean that unless you're pushing out something new on a near-daily basis, and your production costs are nil (ie. you're a vlogger), you're basically not going to make money.

      If Google implemented something like micropayments and paid content authors a tenth of a penny per view, the economics would change dramatically - and the skew away from a tiny handful of mega-stars might allow for better quality content. I suspect a lot of viewers would gladly pay that sort of money just to view videos with no interruptions.

      1. Indolent Wretch

        Re: No one making money from YouTube

        Well I think you are wrong. For a start it implies a whole host of people who right now who just upload videos for fun all suddenly thinking dollar signs and giving their bank details to Google. That isn't just gonna happen.

        The micropayments thing also suggests the viewers who want to view these videos have in someway got to set up a payment system that goes towards Google. Again a great many people won't want to do that. 95% at least.

        My kid uses YouTube to watch Minecraft videos, I'm not sticking my credit card into his play account.

        Thirdly that all videos will need an icon next to them telling you whether they've got a cost associated and possibly a chicken... guess what will happen when one does and one doesn't.

        Sixth biggest site on the Internet, delivering billions of ads a year, probably accruing content faster than anything else on earth and not costing Google money. They are going to mess with that system in the tiniest of careful increments. An optional subscription, sure, a compulsory pay-per-view across nearly everything? Not gonna happen.

        1. Andy 73

          Re: No one making money from YouTube

          I wouldn't suggest YT just puts up a paywall - and of course most visitors cannot or will not ever pay.

          At the same time, whilst you say you won't put your credit card into your son's play account, you probably did to let him play Minecraft. If you could 'charge up' his YT account with a one-off payment of, say £2 and that would then let him watch 2000 videos free of advertising, would you find that so onerous?

          YT already distinguishes between monetised and non-monetised videos, it wouldn't be a stretch to identify 'premium' video channels that require a subscription, or to specify as a content producer that you will accept a specific combination of free/paid/advert-laden views.

          None of this stops YouTube from carrying on exactly as it is, but would open up a more concrete revenue stream for people who don't want to only watch/produce hilarious cat videos.

    3. chivo243 Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: No one making money from YouTube

      Ever see the girl putting legos together? Playing with new toys? She has a nice manicure, and thumb rings? My son comes across these videos looking for lego movies. I heard she makes about $1000 a day... If true, not too shabby for playing with toys.

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Re: No one making money from YouTube

        My littlun seems rather taken with the videos she makes, I dare say he'd be making her a nice amount if the ads weren't blocked.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's about the metadata, stupid

    Google profits from YouTube as its second greatest stream of metadata about... everyone and everything. That data gets churned into the stream they get from Search, Mail and its other "free" services. It all comes out the other end not as sausage, but as detailed behavioral analysis they then sell to businesses, use for their own promotional efforts, or turn over to governments with an interest in tracking what everyone is doing or thinking of doing.

    YouTube is the mother-of-all honeypots for consumers, producers and even prepper conspiracy theorists (whose many channels on the service will be a great place to start when the order is given to fan out with the black helicopters for the big small arms roundup that will kick off just before the oligarchs pull the plug on what democracy we have left).

    The reason we have headlines like "No one is making money from YouTube" is because most people, including the financial experts, understands the long game that Google is playing -- or if they do they're trying hard to keep it quiet, willing to throw in a little disinformation from time to time to protect *their* investment in the commercial Internet ecosystem that Google has sowed.

  16. W. Anderson

    Youtube not idiot viewing, article author statement is.

    There are many organizations, institutions ans school systems for whom Youtube in an indispensible resource for publishing their content to a very wide audience. Even many technology or educational instructional videos are available only on Youtube.

    Jut this week I was able to view the performances of various singing groups that I liked from the past - 1970s through 1990s - on Youtube, which would have been otherwise impossible, so the article author's characterization of Youtube as an "idiot viewing platform" really indicates how idiotic he/she really is.

    1. Florida1920 Silver badge

      Re: Youtube not idiot viewing, article author statement is.

      Agree wholeheartedly. I administer a hobbyist forum running phpBB. Many of our members post videos of their projects to YouTube, and we happily embed them in forum posts. YouTube has made a positive contribution to our experience.

      That said, Google inflicted doubleclick on the world. That alone makes Google evil IMO.

  17. A Ghost
    Thumb Up

    Youtube is brilliant

    Think of it as a service to humanity when it's at its best. Ignore all the racist/bigot comments.

    I'd be happier paying a tax to support youtube than the Beeb.

    Having said that, Google are evil and they screw artists as well as their users.

    People don't mind being monetised, but there's a nice and a nasty way to do this.

    If it all went tits up tomorrow, life would go on. We would be none the richer for it though.

    Who'd a thought it eh? The internet - the first frontier for the war for your mind. Will good overcome evil? Stay tuned and click like and subscribe if you found this information useful.

  18. Daggerchild Silver badge

    Waitasec..

    At last count, *how many* streaming video platforms *were* actually profitable? Any?!?

    If even Google can't do it...

  19. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Holmes

    "So what is the idiot-viewing platform actually for?"

    A) When looking at the global marketplace, the "idiot segment" is amazingly large.

    B) Anyone not covered in A) likes to view the denizens of that segment so that that they can feel smug about themselves.

    So in conclusion: World = idiots + smug assholes, with a small overlap where those two demographics meet :)

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. Shannon Jacobs
    Holmes

    I beg to differ. The criminals are clearly profiting

    Based on observations of their behaviors, it is clear that there are some criminals who are doing quite well on YouTube. Their videos and accounts are constantly and frequently being nuked, and yet they keep recreating them. They would not be doing that if they were not profiting.

    The most flagrant example I know of involves a category of copyright infringement. Not fan videos or trivial stuff. These are accounts with large numbers of not-quite-commercial videos. Actually, they claim to be the real thing, but the actual videos are just stubs intended to get the suckers to click through to other websites. The exact scams are unclear, and I don't regard myself as technically skilled enough to investigate. I suspect that they are persuading suckers to install pwnware in hopes of getting "free" TV programs and movies, but it's just as possible that they are drive-by attacks that will pwn my insufficiently protected computer on the touch. Or perhaps they are making their money from commercial suckers who think they are paying for actual clicks?

    After several years of careful observations, the details don't actually matter to me that much. What is clear is that the google supports EVIL, and the criminals love the google for it.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: I beg to differ. The criminals are clearly profiting

      Are they criminals doing illegal stuff? Or are they just shady businesses exploiting (for their own gain) what is technically possible and not illegal?

  22. JLV Silver badge

    slightly specious

    The article is a bit selective with its facts though it's nice to see some overall numbers. Some people do make money off YouTube. Maybe not musicians so much - and Google deserves all the bad press they can get for screwing indies - but it's a valid communication channel and it is the video channel.

    I suspect the main value of YouTube for Google is defensive in nature and in hindsight $1.6B was cheap enough (<1/4 of a Zynga, for example).

    YouTube could have have served as a major boost to any of the other big players (FB, Y!, MS) had they bought it and could have served as a useful beachhead to build up some much needed internet content cred for MS or Yahoo.

    Here, it doesn't get them much, but it's a top brand, safely on their side and might even make moolah in the future, as delivery costs go down.

    That all said, been struggling to explain to my 11 year old that no, being a "YouTuber" is unlikely to lead to riches - the 21st century equivalent of the country girl getting off the Greyhound in Hollywood.

  23. Karmashock

    Nonsense

    First off there are many content makers that are supporting themselves entirely with youtube streams. A more extreme example would be Pewdeepie who was even featured on South Park. So people make money on youtube. Will everyone be a success? Nope. Welcome to the real world. Failure exists.

    As to artists being pushed into cheapo contracts, that sucks if that is really happening. Contracts should be linked to a percentage of ad revenue whatever that is... so artists that no one cares about get zero dollars because no one watches them and artists that get lots of views DESERVE to be paid their share of the money.

    Is google making money on it? Lots of tech companies don't make money on things. Amazon famously makes no money for example despite pretty much dominating internet sales. Most of these companies are breaking even while at the same time growing rapidly. I think the idea is not to make money but to reinvest all earnings into growth. And so... earnings don't happen.

    Does this suck for the investor? Only if your interest is in dividends and most of these companies don't issue them. So if the company reinvest all earnings into growth before they even become earnings the investor isn't hurt by that.

    Who is? Possibly the tax man. If I make no money then you can't tax my income because I have none. See the genius of it?

    I wouldn't be surprised at all if this systemic lack of earnings is a clever accounting trick to have no income so you pay no income tax. Given again that they don't issue dividends... the investor shouldn't care. The company increases in value and they own shares so those shares increase in value.

    Everyone wins... with the possible exception of the IRS... but it is understood by pretty much everyone in my society that if you can find a legal loophole to not pay a tax then you're stupid not to do it.

    Look into the tax angle. Bet you a shiny new zinc filled penny that this is a tax dodge scheme... a pretty damn funny one too.

  24. heyrick Silver badge

    Google isn't making any money?

    Define "isn't making money". Are they truly not making money, or is this the Amazon definition?

  25. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    You learn something every day...

    I had no idea you could add a "-xxx" to a Google search to exclude key words and sites etc.

    Thanks folks.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    well that's it for me

    Interesting the rants about YouTube - its another 'service' I don't bother with like facebook/twitter/yammer 'cause I'm quite anti-social and only use the tinternet for buying stuff

    Of course they are making money, you cant doubt it or else it would not be there - but not of course when it comes to paying taxes - yes its Greece writ large and we are all doomed because of it (see next finacial crisis)

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The 'The Lord of The Rings' didn't make a profit either.

    Please, get a grip.

    It's called accounting, you don't honestly think they want to pay ANY tax on this lot do you?

  28. Dr Scrum Master
    Gimp

    Pay to Comment

    Why doesn't YouTube try pay-to-comment?

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Pay to Comment

      ssshhhhhh, you don't want El Reg getting any ideas. keep it down man. You're gonna get us all paying for everything.

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