Ten years ago if you posted a video of kittens playing, you may have gained a significant number of views. YouTube was still relatively new at that point and the perception towards it was very different. The perception has gradually changed and this is due in part to the kind of content now on YouTube and the success it has developed for many content creators. In his latest video, Casey Neistat discusses an article posted on Bloomberg describing how success on YouTube still means a life poverty.
YouTube has very obviously changed in the last few years with content on the platform maturing significantly. Many content creators are now offering very high-quality videos; even vlogs from YouTubers are no longer just a step by step description of someone's day, they actually have a message and a story with fantastic production value. This may be making it difficult for many new users to join the platform and receive meaningful results because expectations are much higher. The article does outline many valid points and based on the evidence it may seem that drawing an income from YouTube is now more difficult than ever. YouTube's recent announcement around monetization has only made this more difficult. Does this mean that photographers and new content creators should avoid YouTube? Not at all and Neistat describes in his video why.
As a photographer and YouTuber, I firmly believe that it's extremely important to have a dedicated channel for a number of reasons. The income factor should be considered, however, it should not be the deciding factor and if anything it should be a minor point. The potential from having a consistent and regular channel on YouTube is huge and the kind of doors it can open is incredible. Simply put, had I not started my channel a little over a year ago, I would not be writing for Fstoppers today. My aims and goals were not motivated by earning a living from making videos, I do that from my photography. I started my channel because I'm interested.
Most valuable things are difficult to attain and require hard work and dedication. YouTube is no different and although the income potential is there, it's not the only reward. The many rewards may be somewhat abstract or difficult to pin down but that doesn't discount their respective value. Depending on the kind of content you create and the time and effort you put into each video can determine how successful you are. Consider Mango Street, for instance, a channel that in the last year managed to gain over 500,000 subscribers. Their latest video describes briefly how they managed this amazing feat. Another channel that's current size is a little more relatable is by Eric Floberg. The content and quality of his videos are helping him grow his channel quite quickly.
Yes, it's a lot tougher now than it was on YouTube, but, it's worth it and if you're thinking about starting a channel, do it.