Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Making Money

People around me are starting to make money. YouTube, after sometimes years of toiling, is finally paying off dividends for a number of my friends on the site. Albums are being released, companies and partnerships being forged, deals being signed; it’s all very exciting.

My family is dominated by Thatcherite, Essex-boys; which basically mean they all like making money. My Uncle is chest deep in the stock market, my Grandad owned his own business until he sold it for an astronomical sum when he retired, my Dad has had a string of projects in the security and safety industry and my brother is constantly thinking of ways to make an extra penny or two (his current venture is washing cars).

As per usual, I often relish being the controversial seat at my family’s dinner table. Probably because I enjoy the romanticism of the idea, I have always stood by the statement that “I don’t like making money.” In a sense this is true; the money world occupied by the men in my family scares the shit out of me and I am wonderfully stubborn about working because I enjoy my work rather than working for the size of the cheque at the end of each month. Although I appreciate this was a very naïve viewpoint, I stand by the fact I could never work in an office, nine to five. However, seeing my friends starting to make money… has made me think the money making itself isn’t so bad.

The money my Dad earned when I was growing up came from a job he was not passionate about, I am not sure how much one can get into selling fire alarms, so I suppose I associated money with boredom, offices and suites. But the money I am seeing friends of mine interact with is the opposite spectrum of that. It is exciting, creative and something they can get excited about ( adverts may be the exception here).

I suppose the point is, maybe I too can earn money from this creativity malarkey. I have never really seen things like BlogTV, YouTube and this Blog, as well as articles and things I do with other sites and companies, as a money making opportunity. Maybe I should start to.

I am, however, sceptical as to my ability to do so. I occupy a very specific niche on YouTube and across the internet: political and social commentary. The sad truth is, debates (apart from presidential ones) do not have a tendency to rake in the views as, say, a purple man or hot new jeans. In fact, although my subscriber count is over 10k now, I rarely get over 5k hits on my videos – this does not bare well for my adsense, a system based on views.

When I was in New York, Tessa, a very good friend, mentioned that she could see me making some money from what I do. This perked me up. I am very proud of what I do across the internet, but I do hope that in the future I can make some money and maybe earn a living from what I do. I guess it’s different for someone making music or videos targeted at a viral market, so I shouldn’t compare myself to them.

I do, however, hope I can be included in this revolution that seems to be happening.


Amélie Farmer said...

I think you will be able to make a nice amount of money off of what you do because of you being pretty much alone in political and social commentary. Its a "unique" channel on youtube and the people who do watch it I would think are at least a bit loyal.

I personally really like your videos, and what you have to say in your videos as I on my own have a bit of a problem engaging in some important political and social news etc. I also doubt that I am alone with feeling that way, but with your videos you make us aware of things and share your opinion.
basically its really really good!


Alan said...

I also have considered this issue a lot over the past year and have struggled to figure out what my YouTube message would be. Since I've successfully done live broadcast radio with audience call in before, it should be easy once I decide the point of the program. But the most successful people on YT have a wide range of talents, with which I am not sure I can compete.

The topic of one's channel is critical to adsense success because the real commissions come from viewers clicking on the ads, not just the overall views. What I'm not sure about is if people who enjoy political commentary, like me and other subs to your channel, are more or less likely to click through an ad. I frankly make a point to not look at the ads.

You are an entertaining and very bright guy and you present well in your videos. I wish you talked a lot more about the experiences you have in all these travels... not many people go to China on a regular basis, you know.

But I'm wondering if your audience might become more diverse if you miced your travel videos into the commentary more.. expanding your audience and perhaps attracting a consumer who is more likely to click through.

One more thought about the others who are making some money now is to consider the longevity of their audience. Are they appealing to more than the teenage YT viewers in any significant way? If not, they won't ride this wave for very long because one can't stop growing older. For example, Fred, Lucas's character. Its already getting awkward to see him developing into a late-teenager still playing a six year old. At some point its not going to work any longer.

Virality doesn't work as well with older viewers, so it might require a different kind of marketing. But I do believe theres opportunity for thoughtful and meaningful videos on YT that appeal to an older and longer-lasting audience.

Figure out how to tap that and you're on your way. Hopefully, me as well.

Caitlin said...

I think you'll be able to make money from what you do. Your videos are unique, and, honestly, they're the main thing that gets me interested in current events.

Your videos make a lot of people look at things, and gain opinions on things, that otherwise, they wouldn't have given two looks.

You're entertaining, and this is probably a key point, because you don't bore people, but you talk about serious things.

I guess I'm just trying to say that I've always figured you'd make money off your videos. At least, since I started watching them.

Eddplant said...

I can totally see you making money from your videos :)

In a world of celebrity reporters and gossip channels, you're practically standing on your own with current events and politics. You have a brilliant take on your chosen subject, and you're great at engaging your audience.

More regular videos, your BlogTV shows, and using sites like Twitter as tools to promote your political persona (ie, linking to articles, asking for opinions) would really help you get more views.

I can honestly see you as a political Michael Buckley, or youtube's David Dimbleby :) <3

Fat. Bitch. said...

I'm glad you're different Jazza. =)
My friends tend to have no interest in news or politics or anything, but I think I'm slowly turning them with your videos because they can see it doesn't have to be boring old men talking shit, lol. =)

polyptych said...

You appeal to a different market, which sets you apart from the rest. I for one don't follow the usual YT crowd, because I find it all a bit samey and being at the older end of 16-24, I feel a bit out of touch a lot of the time and don't really feel vlogs from many people have a lot to offer me.

Your videos are different of course, because you can engage and interact with people of all ages. That's not to say that others can't appreciate music, vlogs, animation etc by younger people, but they might be more hesitant to.

Anyway, just be yourself. Like you said yourself, you've got a niche and if you look at successful people, that's where it all starts. You've already given yourself lots of opportunities so don't stress too much, keep doing what you're doing and enjoy it and good things will come to you.

All the best

MikisthatChick said...

i understand, my dad sells alarms too.
and i want to be an artist.
not much more to say

Luke Beaumont's Design for Digital Media Blog said...

Hello Jazza you will probably never see this comment, cos this post is almost over a month old!

But I want to say I love you for saying “I don’t like making money.” I can like you relate to this, but as money drives the world is seems that people like me and you have no choice!

As eddplant says you are wonderfully entertaining and brilliant at engaging an audience.

As you probably already know from seeing me at the JohnnyCupcakes lecture, I too want to be part of this creative network that exists online, be greatfully you have found your niche, I am still looking for mine! :)